spaceship n.

a spacecraft; esp. a manned one under the control of its crew



  • 1880 Pall Mall Gazette 20 Jan. 12/1

    The Apergy once mastered, it was comparatively easy to anticipate and improve upon the ideas of a trifler like Jules Verne, and build a space-ship.

  • 1894 J. J. Astor Journey in Other Worlds I. vi. 93

    ‘What sort of space-ship do you propose to have?’ asked the vice-president.

  • 1929 F. Currier trans. O. W. Gail Shot into Infinity in Science Wonder Quarterly Fall 65/2 page image Otto Willi Gail bibliography

    Since the space ship, with exhausts cut off, was circling freely in space…the proximity of the moon was no hindrance to leaving the ship.

  • 1932 Wonder Stories Apr. 1249/1

    A long, flexible tube between the ships permitted them to go from the passenger liner to the space ship without space suits.

  • 1938 C. S. Lewis Out of Silent Planet iv. 38 C. S. Lewis bibliography

    All he ever remembered of his first meal in the space-ship was the tyranny of heat and light.

  • 1941 Super Science Stories Nov.

    Would it be that for the first time in human history a—spaceship had reached the Earth?

  • 1952 J. Blish in Galaxy Aug. 25/1 James Blish

    Obviously, whatever the ancients had known about spaceship construction, very little of that knowledge was usable.

  • ?a1965 G. Roddenberry Original outline for ‘Star Trek’ in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. i. 25 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    April and his crew, unlike our limited astronauts of today, are in charge of their own destiny, must find their own answers to the jeopardies they meet on far-off worlds. The perfected spaceship concept allows us to move efficiently from story to story, freeing the audience from tiresome details of technology and hardware. Our aim is drama and adventure.

  • 1966 S. Delany Babel-17 i. ii. 27 Samuel R. Delany

    Managing a spaceship crew takes a special sort of psychology.

  • 1974 U. K. Le Guin Dispossessed (1975) i. 2 Ursula K. Le Guin

    She was wearing the Defense armband, a sight almost as rare as a spaceship.

  • 1987 G. Bear Forge of God (1988) 21 Greg Bear

    That cinder cone’s a spaceship, or a spaceship is buried underneath.

  • 1992 Locus Aug. 4/1

    The first story…has the most complete description of a biological life support system for a spaceship that I’ve ever run into in science fiction.

  • 2016 C. Duyvis On the Edge of Gone lxi. 447 Corinne Duyvis bibliography

    I like that you’re faced with an interstellar spaceship and decide that what it really needs is fewer typos.

  • 2021 N. Okorafor Remote Control ii. 41 Nnedi Okorafor bibliography

    After tossing and turning for two hours, she’d gotten up to play with her plush rabbit. ‘You are very nice,’ she told it as she sat on her bed. ‘But you’re not like my seed.’ She paused, listening with her six-year-old ears. ‘It’s not my fault,’ the rabbit responded in a soft baby voice. She smiled. ‘I know. But it doesn’t change the fact. Adults never understand.’ ‘Come on, let’s play spaceship,’ the rabbit said. And Fatima and the rabbit shot into space for a few minutes. The rebellion of playing with her new toy when she was supposed to be asleep gave her a bit of satisfaction.

Research requirements

antedating 1880

Earliest cite

Pall Mall Gazette

Research History
A reader for the OED found an 1880 quotation in the Pall Mall Gazette, referencing Jules Verne.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.