space sick adj.

suffering from spacesickness n.

  • 1912 H. Gernsback Ralph 124C 41+in Mod. Electrics Mar. 884/2 Hugo Gernsback

    For the first time since he left Earth he became space-sick.

  • 1929 H. Gernsback in Amazing Stories Quarterly Winter 52/2 Hugo Gernsback

    Ralph grew more despondent each day, and his hope of bringing his betrothed back to life grew dimmer and dimmer as the hours rolled on. For the first time since he left the Earth he became space-sick. Space-sickness is one of the most unpleasant sensations that a human being can experience. Not all are subject to it, and it does not last longer than forty-eight hours, after which it never recurs. On Earth, gravitational action to a certain degree exerts a certain pull on the brain. Out in space, with practically no gravitational action, this pull ceases. When this happens, the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions, just as a balloon loses its pear shape and becomes round when an aeronaut cuts loose, to drop down with his parachute. The effect on the brain results in space-sickness, the first symptoms being violent melancholy and depression followed by a terrible and heart-rending longing for Earth. During this stage, at which the patient undergoes great mental suffering, the optical nerves usually become affected and everything appears upside down, as if the sufferer were looking through a lens. It becomes necessary to take large doses ofSiltagol, otherwise brain fever may develop.

  • 1949 A. C. Clarke Across Sea of Stars (1959) 93 Arthur C. Clarke

    I was sure I'd never be space sick.

  • 1976 C. Holland Floating Worlds (1977) 92 Cecelia Holland bibliography

    She was space-sick and she could not eat.

  • 1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. i. 9 Vernor Vinge bibliography

    Ordinarily she never got space sick, but this was different.

  • 1999 A. Thomson Through Alien Eyes (2000) iii. 102 Amy Thomson bibliography

    A sudden wave of queasiness sent her to her seat. She must be more exhausted than she realized; she hadn’t been spacesick since she was a small child.

  • 2003 B. Bova Sam and the Flying Dutchman in Analog Science Fiction & Fact June 127/2 Ben Bova bibliography

    I recalled, ‘You started a honeymoon hotel in Earth orbit back then, didn’t you?’ His face clouded. ‘It went under. Most of the honeymooners got spacesick their first day in weightlessness. Horrible publicity. I went broke.’

  • 2021 M. Vibbert Unlikely Heroines of Callisto Station in Analog Science Fiction & Fact July–Aug. ii. 16/2 Marie Vibbert bibliography

    High above Xiao was the squat cylinder of the station hub with docks on either end. The station felt still, despite all of it spinning ninety-four meters per second, the two nearby arms that connected the ring to the hub were insane skyscrapers, making her deliciously tiny. Saravit should see this, she thought, and laughed at herself, because Vit got space-sick every time he so much as went to a view-port.


Research requirements

antedating 1912

Earliest cite

H. Gernsback 'Ralph 124C41+'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1939 cite. Fred Galvin located a cite in a 1958 reprint of Hugo Gernsback's "Ralph 124C 41+"; Mike Christie verified this in a 1952 edition, and Fred Galvin subsequently verified it in a 1929 reprint in Amazing Stories Quarterly. We would like to check the 1925 first edition.
Fred noted that Gernsback claimed to have used "space sickness" in 1911. This suggests that, though the story was apparently rewritten in subsequent editions, the term probably appears in the story's 1911 serialization in "Modern Electrics": we would like to check that version if possible.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2003 cite from Ben Bova.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2021 cite from Marie Vibbert.

Earliest cite in the OED: 1949

Last modified 2022-02-23 16:11:31
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.