Tellurian adj.

of, relating to, or living on Earth

The OED records examples from 1786 onwards in the sense ‘of or relating to the earth; earthly, terrestrial’, without referring to Earth in contrast to other planets.


  • 1880 P. Greg Across Zodiac (1974) 84

    Even at this distance I could discern that its streets were of remarkable width, with few or no buildings so high as mosques, churches, State-offices, or palaces in Tellurian cities.

  • 1930 ‘G. Edwards’ in Sci. Wonder Stories Feb. 778/1 Gawain Edwards

    I spread my wings and brought it here to you, as swiftly as I could pass through the Tellurian air.

  • 1930 Amazing Stories Quarterly Winter 29/1

    The space-ports at the three great cities, were, of course, occupied or blockaded by the Tellurian fleets; and Doane was obliged to make his bases of operations the lonely craters that once had been pirate strongholds.

  • 1943 C. S. Lewis Perelandra (1944) 4 page image C. S. Lewis bibliography

    We had eldila of our own, he said, Tellurian eldils, but they were of a different kind and mostly hostile to Man.

  • 1943 C. S. Lewis Perelandra (1944) 8 page image C. S. Lewis bibliography

    I did not doubt the existence of the things he had met in Mars—the Pfifltriggi, the Hrossa, and the Sorns—nor of these interplanetary eldila. I did not even doubt the reality of that mysterious being whom the eldil call Maleldil and to whom they appear to give a total obedience such as no Tellurian dictator can command.

  • 1948 E. E. Smith Triplanetary (1973) 34 Edward E. Smith

    Like two high executives of a Tellurian corporation discussing business affairs during a chance meeting at one of their clubs, Eddore’s All Highest and Gharlane, his second in command, were having the Eddorian equivalent of an after-business-hours chat.

  • 1967 A. Schwartz Wandering Tellurian 5

    As with most Tellurian ghettos, the enclave on Lhonz 4 kept an academy, a building with two floors, in contrast to the habitations surrounding it. It was solid and impressive, built of native red stone and furnished with the usual heavy tapestries and large fireplaces found in the ghetto. Lhonz 4 was a small, cold world, hereditarily inhabited by humanoids more notable for their hirsuteness than for their doubtful attractiveness. Relations between the locals and the sons of Tellus, the death merchants, were strictly on a cash basis. But the Tellurians had to make do with Lhonz. Few worlds relish the establishment of a race with a reputation for viciousness and undoubted possession of weapons in advance of anything in the galaxy.

  • 1968 ‘C. Cloukey’ in Amazing Stories Sept. 112/1

    The time-wave, that mysterious force which travels through time, the fourth dimension, will be discovered in the year 2806, just after the second terrible Martio-Tellurian War.

  • 1968 E. E. Smith Skylark Three 50 Edward E. Smith

    Heartless and bloodthirsty Osnomian though she was, Sitar had gone to join the two Tellurian women.

  • 1997 I. S. Behr & R. H. Wolfe Legends of Ferengi 148

    The workers have a life expectancy only slightly longer than a Tellurian gnat.

Research requirements

antedating 1880

Earliest cite

Percy Greg, "Across the Zodiac"

Research History
David Tate submitted a cite from a 1962 reprint of C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1972 reprint of E.E. Smith's "Triplanetary"; Jesse Sheidlower checked the original appearance in Amazing Stories in 1934, and the cite isn't found there.
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1931 cite from Miles Breuer and Jack Williamson's "The Birth of a New Republic".
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a 1968 reprint of E.E. Smith's "Skylark Three".
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a 1968 reprint of Charles Cloukey's "Paradox"; we would like to check the 1929 original appearance in Amazing Quarterly.
Daniel Frankham submitted a cite from a 1974 reprint of Percy Greg's "Across the Zodiac"; we would like to check the 1880 first edition.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1930 cite from Gawain Edwards "A Rescue From Jupiter".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1967 cite from Alan Schwartz's "The Wandering Tellurian".

Last modified 2022-12-12 13:29:03
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.