shield n.

a force field that protects something (such as a spaceship, a city, or an individual person) from potentially harmful objects or energy; cf. deflector n.

  • 1930 E. E. Smith Skylark Three in Amazing Stories Aug. 408/1 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    The inhabitants of planet three of sun six four seven three Pilarone show unusual development and may cause trouble, as they have already brought knowledge of the metal of power and of the impenetrable shield to the Central System, which is to be our base. Recommend volatilization of this planet by vessel sent on special mission.

  • 1933 F. K. Kelly Into the Meteorite Orbit in Amazing Stories Dec. 89/2 page image Frank K. Kelly bibliography

    ‘We can hold the Group off—until we reach Warren. I'll get the shields up…’ Granton caught his shoulder for an instant in a crushing grip. And spoke grimly: ‘See that you do. ’ Barclay nodded speechlessly, swung to the banked control-panel that held within it the interleading conduits of electric force that created fan-beams of crackling force-shields. [both ellipses in original]

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Triplanetary in Amazing Stories Jan. 13/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    Might have been a timed bomb—don’t see how anybody could have stowed away down there through the inspections, and nobody but Franklin can neutralise the shield of the air room—but I'm going to look around, anyway.

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Triplanetary in Amazing Stories Jan. 27/1 Edward E. Smith bibliography

    Neither ravening ray nor explosive shell could harm him—he had snapped on the protective shield whose generator was always upon his person.

  • 1962 P. Anderson Shield in Fantastic Stories of Imagination June 62/2 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    Momentum carried him a fractional inch into it. Then his kinetic energy had been absorbed, taken up by the field itself and shunted to the power pack. As for the noise, none could penetrate the shield.

  • 1962 P. Anderson Shield in Fantastic Stories of Imagination June 63/2 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    The shield unit dragged at his shoulders; ten pounds added up like fury when you were exhausted.

  • 1963 F. Herbert Dune World in Analog Science Fact–Science Fiction Dec. 33/2 Frank Herbert bibliography

    He pulled a shield belt from the table, buckled it fast around his waist.

  • 1963 F. Herbert Dune World in Analog Science Fact—Science Fiction Dec. 33/2 Frank Herbert bibliography

    ‘One must always remember that the shield turns the fast blow and admits the slow kindjal!’ Paul snapped up the rapier, feinted fast and whipped it back in a slow thrust timed precisely to enter a shield’s mindless defenses.

  • 1964 G. Roddenberry Private notes in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. vi. 86 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    Some kind of ‘meteoroid shield’ or ‘meteoroid force field deflector’ will be necessary in true spaceships.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 195 bibliography

    When the deflector shield (or ‘screen’, as it is sometimes called) is operating, the ship’s transporters cannot be used.

  • 1985 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact mid-Dec. 15/2

    Our new weaponry will shred those obsolete defensive shields of yours, I promise you that.

  • 1986 D. Carey Dreadnought i.9 Diane Carey

    Captain, they’re firing! Raise shields!

  • 1989 Omni Sept. 6/2

    Life is menaced by ultraviolet radiation streaming through a leaky ozone shield.

  • 1995 D. W. Smith & K. K. Rusch Star Trek Voyager: Escape i. 5 Dean Wesley Smith Kristine Kathryn Rusch bibliography

    ‘With the shields at twenty percent, even a small impact could prove disastrous.’ Tuvok spoke the obvious with the sincerity of a man giving a speech before the Federation.

  • 1995 D. W. Smith & K. K. Rusch Star Trek Voyager: Escape i. 7 Dean Wesley Smith Kristine Kathryn Rusch bibliography

    Every ounce of power B’Elanna could find in the poor, beat-up shuttle she directed at the forward shields, but she knew it would never be enough.


Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite

in Doc Smith's "Skylark Three"

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1941 cite from Robert Heinlein. Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1965 reprint of E.E. Smith's "Triplanetary". Alistar Durie verified use of the word in the original 1934 magazine publication. Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Frank Kelly's "Into the Meteorite Orbit"; Alistair Durie verified the cite in the 1933 first appearance in Amazing Stories. Malcolm Farmer suggested Poul Anderson's "Shield", and Mike Christie located a cite in the 1962 original magazine appearance. Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from Frank Herbert's "Dune", and Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1963 original magazine appearance. Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a reprint of George R.R. Martin's "Manna From Heaven"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1985 first magazine appearance. Alan Cox submitted a cite from a 1974 edition of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's "Skylark Three": Alistair Durie verified the cite in the 1930 serialization in Amazing Stories.

(There are no cites in the OED in the sf sense.)

Last modified 2021-01-12 01:48:48
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.