dimension n.

a realm of existence coexistent with our own, but which cannot be perceived or accessed by ordinary means and which often possesses different physical laws; cf. alternate world n., parallel universe n., plane n.


  • 1896 H. G. Wells Plattner Story in New Review Apr. 352 H. G. Wells bibliography

    To put the thing in technical language, the curious inversion of Plattner’s right and left sides is proof that he has moved out of our space into what is called the Fourth Dimension, and that he has returned again to our world.

  • 1901 J. Conrad & ‘F. M. Hueffer’ The Inheritors i. 11 page image bibliography

    I heard the nature of the Fourth Dimension—heard that it was an inhabited plane—invisible to our eyes, but omnipresent; heard that I had seen it when Bell Harry had reeled before my eyes.

  • 1923 H. G. Wells Men Like Gods 22 page image H. G. Wells bibliography

    And now he imagines himself in some sort of scientific romance and out of our world altogether. In another dimension.

  • 1930 E. E. Repp Red Dimension in Science Wonder Stories Jan. 698/1 Ed Earl Repp bibliography

    The second chapter tells how he managed to see into an alien dimension.

  • 1931 ‘Time Traveller’ Vision of the Future in Wonder Stories Mar. 1193/1 (letter) page image

    There was also another race on Earth which was not human but equivalent in every way to man, though utterly different from mankind in its aims, makeup and development. I could not quite make them out as they were absolutely beyond my experience. But I was told that there were many more such races in the universe, though in other dimensions.

  • 1932 C. A. Smith Testament of Athammaus in Weird Tales Oct. 511/1 Clark Ashton Smith

    And there were those who whispered of even stranger blood (if one could properly call it blood) and a monstrous linkage with the swart, Protean spawn that had come down with Tsathoggua from elder worlds and exterior dimensions where physiology and geometry had both assumed an altogether inverse trend of development.

  • 1933 H. P. Lovecraft Dreams in Witch-House in Weird Tales July 102/2 page image H. P. Lovecraft bibliography

    One might, for example, pass into a timeless dimension and emerge at some remote period of the earth’s history as young as before.

  • 1952 L. S. de Camp Blunderer in Fantastic Story Winter 109/2 page image L. Sprague de Camp bibliography

    He concluded, ‘Where am I then? In another dimension?’ His interlocutor winced. ‘You're a smart lad but don’t use “dimension” in that pseudo-scientific sense! Call it another continuum.’ ‘All right, another continuum. On a planet that occupies the same space as ours, only in this other plane—’ ‘Not “plane”—that’s occultism. Continuum.’ ‘All right, continuum, that goes around its sun at the same speed as ours.’ ‘You're mostly right, except there’s no exact correspondence between Antichthon and Earth. Antichthon is actually somewhat smaller than the Earth and takes a longer radius. I can’t explain it to you now but it’s like those formulae for the location of an electron—they only tell you where it’s most likely to be. So the connections between Earth and Antichthon are valid even though they don’t coincide literally. Actually Antichthon is in the same continuum as Earth but at the other end, where the universe curves back on itself.’

  • 1961 R. Serling The Twilight Zone (season 3) (opening narration) Rod Serling

    You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop…the Twilight Zone.

  • 1977 C. Kapp Chaos Weapon v. 49 Colin Kapp bibliography

    ‘Why does he flicker like that?’ ‘Because he travels in several dimensions, of which this is only one. He visits the others constantly, thus at no time is he fully here.’

  • 1979 D. Adams Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Galaxy 148 Douglas Adams bibliography

    ‘Magrathea is a gateway back to our own dimension,’ put in Benjy.

  • 1979 P. Anderson Gate of Flying Knives in I. Asimov et al. Mammoth Book of Short Fantasy Novels (1986) 20 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Philosophers of a later, more rationalistic era elaborated this into a theory of parallel universes. My own researches—you will understand that my condition has made me especially interested in the theory of dimensions, the subtler aspects of geometry—my own researches have demonstrated the possibility of transference between these different spaces.

  • 1983 J. Varley Millennium iv. 70 John Varley bibliography

    The integrity of the body is preserved through a dimension we can’t sense.

  • 1988 I. McDonald Desolation Road (2001) i. 11 Ian McDonald bibliography

    ‘Though we journey through different dimensions, like you I am a traveller across this dry and waterless place,’ said the greenperson.

  • 1992 D. Drake Northworld 3: Justice xii. 62 David Drake bibliography

    The bottle which held the prisoner sat in Bay 20, at the focus of the device by which Karring closed the escape route through dimensions.

  • 2001 Cult Times Feb. 67/4

    A girl is kidnapped on her wedding day by a telepathic criminal who has travelled from a parallel dimension to find her, because she is identical to his lost love in his own world.

Research requirements

antedating 1896

Earliest cite

H. G. Wells

Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1931 cite from Wonder Stories.
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1986 reprint of Poul Anderson's 1979 "The Gate of the Flying Knives".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Douglas Adams' "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1979 first edition.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1992 cite from David Drake's "Northworld 3: Justice".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a reprint of H.P. Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch House": Alistair Durie verified this in its 1933 first publication.
Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a reprint of Clark Ashton Smith's "The Testament of Athammaus"; Alistair Durie verified the cite in the 1932 original magazine appearance.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1977 cite from Colin Kapp's "The Chaos Weapon".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1930 cite from Ed Earl Repp's "The Red Dimension".
Ralf Brown located and Fred Galvin submitted a cite from an undated reprint of H.G. Wells "Men Like Gods"; Jesse Sheidlower verified this in the 1923 first edition.
Dan Clore submitted a cite from a 1985 reprint of Joseph Conrad & Ford Madox Ford's "The Inheritors"; Jesse Sheidlower verified this in its first publication in 1901 (with Ford writing under the pseudonym "Ford M. Hueffer").
Dan Clore submitted a cite from a 1966 reprint of H.G. Wells' "The Plattner Story"; Jesse Sheidlower verified this in its first publication in New Review, April, 1896.

Last modified 2023-10-31 20:37:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.