Earthbound adj. 2

based on Earth; unable to leave Earth

The OED has figurative examples from the 17th century (Shakespeare) onwards.

  • 1930 O. A. Kline Man from the Moon in Amazing Stories Oct. 656/1 page image Otis Adelbert Kline bibliography

    Thus cut off from interplanetary travel—for I did not know how to construct another ether ship—I found myself earthbound. I immediately set about learning the simple language of the savages, living in a dwelling of skins tied to light poles, because of the frequent earthquake shocks.

  • 1933 F. K. Kelly Into the Meteorite Orbit in Amazing Stories Dec. 85/1 page image Frank K. Kelly bibliography

    We're not always to be earth-bound, tied to a pebble for infinity!

  • 1937 E. E. Smith Galactic Patrol in Astounding Stories Dec. 67/1 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    And, fifteen years or so from now—if he lived—when he was no longer fit for the grinding, grueling life to which he now looked forward so eagerly, he would select the Earthbound job for which he was best fitted and would become a good executive.

  • 1939 ‘L. del Rey’ Luck of Ignatz in Astounding Science-Fiction Aug. 10/1 page image Lester del Rey bibliography

    Even veteran spacemen were usually mudsuckers on Venus, and Anne was Earthbound up to now.

  • 1950 M. Lesser All Heroes Are Hated! in Amazing Stories Nov. 18/2 page image Milton Lesser bibliography

    In the beginning, a few of the starmen tried, but they were blasted out of space. We’re earthbound. The whole culture is earthbound, with nothing to do. It’s as if the stars don’t exist. And we're going backwards. It’s hard to see in ten years, but with all this unemployment, all the discontent—earth is on the way down.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. viii. 252 bibliography

    Her life at present is a battle between her female need for the pleasant routine of Earthbound home and family versus the personal challenge of starship life and continued new worlds to conquer.

  • 1979 L. Killough Doppelganger Gambit ii. 34 Lee Killough bibliography

    A hundred years ago, there had been solid strings of traffic on cross-country highways, most of the traffic privately-owned road cars. That was before energy rationing, of course, and before metal started being saved for building ships to go to the Moon and Mars and the stars, to build cities on the Moon and Mars, instead of being wasted on earthbound vehicles.

  • 1988 R. Silverberg We are for Dark in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Oct. 127 page image Robert Silverberg bibliography

    I have no regret over remaining Earthbound: far from it! Earth is our great mother. Earth is the mother of us all. Troubled as she is, blighted as she now may be, dying, even, I am content to stay here, and more than content.

  • 1990 G. Bear Queen of Angels (1991) i.iv. 18 Greg Bear bibliography

    I assume my earthbound twin is interpreting these bursts adequately, politely, suavely.

  • 1995 C. Carter Truth is out There: Official Guide to The X Files Introd. 4 Chris Carter

    Aside from its genre’s mixed track record, The X-Files was set to air on Friday—a night when many of the young adults and teenagers who would naturally comprise the core audience for such a program were likely to be out pursuing other, more earthbound forms of recreation.

  • 2008 K. K. Rusch in Asimov’s Science Fiction July 18/2 page image

    The world is very different now and yet startlingly the same…. Poverty hasn’t been eradicated, and we're still earthbound.

Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite

O. A. Kline, in Amazing Stories

Research History
Suggested by Randy Hoffman.

Fred Galvin submitted a 1963 cite from the title of the story "Earthbound', by Lester Del Rey.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1994 cite from S.Andrew Swann's "Emperors of the Twilight".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1979 cite from Lee Killough's "The Doppelganger Gambit".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from George O. Smith's "Fire in the Heavens".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1950 cite from Milton Lesser's "All Heroes Are Hated!".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1941 cite from "The Beast of Space" by F. E. Hardart
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1959 reprint of Lester Del Rey's "The Luck of Ignatz", which Mike Christie verified in its 1939 first appearance
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1950 reprint of E.E. Smith's "Galactic Patrol": Mike Christie verified it in its first publication (serial in Astounding Stories, 1937).
Fred Galvin submitted a 1930 cite from O.A. Kline's "Man from the Moon", in Amazing Stories.

Last modified 2022-02-24 20:20:52
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.