three-D n.

a device or system capable of transmitting or displaying a three dimensional image; (also) a three-dimensional image; cf. tri-D n.

Also 3D, three-dee.

  • 1955 ‘M. Lesser’ Dictator in Imagination Jan. 85/2 page image Milton Lesser bibliography

    A man Ellaby’s own size was sitting there, viewing a 3D.

  • 1957 K. Wilhelm in Astounding Science Fiction Apr. 110/1

    They had rediscovered the joy of reading books. Real leather-bound books instead of watching the three D set, or using the story films.

  • 1958 P. Anderson & K. Anderson Innocent At Large in Galaxy Science Fiction July 135/1 Poul Anderson Karen Anderson bibliography

    ‘That is a sexy type of furniture, all right’™, agreed Doran. He lowered himself into another chair, cocked his feet on the 3-D and waved a cigarette.

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

    On his back he carried a lumpy metal cylinder; the harness included a plastic panel across his chest, with switches, knobs, and three meters. Like some science fiction hero on the 3D.

  • 1971 G. Benford & G. Eklund West Wind, Falling in T. Carr Universe 1 16 Gregory Benford Gordon Eklund

    The mammoth 3D mounted on one wall had been scrounged out of spare parts several years after the Zephyr expedition was launched.

  • 1971 G. Benford & G. Eklund West Wind, Falling in T. Carr Universe 1 17 Gregory Benford Gordon Eklund

    But the 3D tapes he’d seen: people jammed together like dogs in a kennel; food rationed; wars and riots; shades of bleak, shades of gray.

  • 1978 D. Bischoff & T. White Forbidden World in Amazing Stories Jan. 107/1 page image David Bischoff Ted White bibliography

    It was…as though the entire adventure had merely been some three-dee program which was fast nearing its climax.

  • 1986 ‘˜J. Tiptree, Jr.’™ in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine May 130

    The lights come up in the huge three-di display of the Harmony, colored to show the star-systems of all the allied races.


Research requirements

antedating 1955

Earliest cite

"Milton Lesser", 'The Dictator'

Research History
Looking for 'threedee', 'three D' and '3D'.

Mike Christie submitted a 1962 cite for the form "3D" from Poul Anderson's "Shield".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite for the form "three D" from a reprint of Kate Wilhelm's "The Mile-Long Spaceship"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1957 original magazine appearance.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1971 cite for the form "3D" from Gregory Benford and Gordon Eklund's "West Wind, Fallling".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite for the form "threedee" from a 1991 reprint of Walter Jon Williams' 1989 "Angel Station.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1958 cite for the form "3-D" from Poul and Karen Anderson's "Innocent at Large"
Fred Galvin submitted a 1955 cite for "3D" from "The Dictator" by Milton Lesser (pseudonym of Stephen Marlowe): it is impossible to tell from context whether this cite referred to the viewing device or the entertainment being shown on it,,,,
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite for the form "three-di" from a reprint of James Tiptree's "Collision"; Mike Christie verified it in the 1986 first magazine appearance.
Mike Christie submitted a 1948 cite from John D. MacDonald's "School for the Stars", but it is used here just as an abbreviation for "three-dimensional" (albeit in an science-fictional context) rather than to refer to a three-D television system or something similar. Likewise, many later cites are abbreviations for "three dimensional" in some broader context.

Last modified 2021-01-12 00:01:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.