topside adv.

in or towards the upper parts of a spacecraft; (also) in or towards orbit

Also as adj.

The equivalent sense ‘in or towards the upper deck(s) of a ship’ is found from the 19th century.

  • 1933 H. Vincent When the Comet Returned in Amazing Stories Apr. 12/1 page image Harl Vincent bibliography

    [He] followed with cheerful assurance as Ridge led the way to the topside observatory dome.

  • 1942 N. S. Bond Jessifer Rides Again in Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct. 58/2 page image Nelson S. Bond bibliography

    We’re out of the Belt, spacebound for the Jovian system. I–I’ll go topside right away, sir!

  • 1960 W. Tucker To Tombaugh Station in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction July 97/1 Wilson Tucker bibliography

    The guys at the field will have to see them or you don’t go topside.

  • 1960 W. Tucker To Tombaugh Station in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction July 106/1 Wilson Tucker bibliography

    ‘My engines haven’t fired yet. We’re in orbit.’ ‘Oh, of course. Where in orbit?’ ‘Approaching perigee. We’ll pass and climb in a little while. You might as well stay there.’ ‘I've never fainted before,’ she said to herself. ‘You’ve never jumped topside in a bucket before. This isn’t the deluxe tour, Bristol, and this ain’t no stinking ferryboat. I can’t waste time nor money on the featherbed treatment.’

  • 1974 S. Delany Dhalgren i. 45 Samuel R. Delany bibliography

    There was this damn dog, who’d been sleeping under the porch all the time I’d been snoozing topside. He was awake now. And he started barking. Then he chased my ass down to the road.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 16 John Varley

    The Nipple offices were topside because, when the rag was founded, topside meant cheap.

  • 1992 ‘L. A. Graf’ Ice Trap i. 10 bibliography

    He filled the bill until they could get her topside.

  • 1997 J. Vornholt Mind Meld i. 8 John Vornholt

    But you go topside if you want to, Bones.

  • 2007 J. L. Blaschke Final Voyage of La Riaza in Interzone (#210) June 17/2 page image Jayme Lynn Blaschke bibliography

    Hull’s all but lost topside, either ripped or burned away.


Research requirements

antedating 1933

Earliest cite

Harl Vincent, in Amazing Stories

Research History
Suggested by Randy Hoffman.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from 1960 for the adverb sense, from Wilson Tucker's "To the Tombaugh Station"
Michael Dolbear submitted a 1998 cite from Lois McMaster Bujold's "Komarr".

We expect this is probably somewhat earlier, and would like to have that confirmed with an antedating.

Last modified 2021-02-19 12:38:19
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.