light-year n.

the distance light travels in one year


  • 1868 Student & Intellectual Observer (vol. 1, no. 3) Apr. 240

    He makes its distance from the solar system 1,273,000 times the earth’s diameter from the sun, and its distance measured in ‘light years’ (as the Germans call the space traversed by light in a year) as 20.1.

  • 1888 Athenæum 27 Oct. 558/2

    The distances in light-years of the last two stars.

  • 1951 I. Asimov Foundation Trilogy–Foundation i.i. 5 Isaac Asimov

    At one time there was the cold, blue-white smoke of a gaseous nebula within five light years of the ship.

  • 1960 P. Anderson High Crusade (1982) v. 32 Poul Anderson bibliography

    This empire filled a rough sphere in space, about two thousand light-years across.

  • ?a1965 G. Roddenberry Original outline for ‘Star Trek’ in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. i. 24 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    Drive—space-warp [.] Range—18 years at light-year velocity [.] Registry—Earth, United Spaceship.

  • 1972 J. Blish Star Trek 8 88 James Blish

    Millions upon millions of light years of absolutely nothing, except a few molecules of ionized gas.

  • 1996 W. Shatner Return vi. 34 William Shatner

    Dozens of light-years from the nearest star, it was simply a collection of asteroidal debris.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother’s Keeper ii. i. 13 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    The vast likelihood was that we would both die on that ball of mud fifty light-years from home.

  • 2021 C. J. Anders Victories Greater Than Death xxxv. 191 Charlie Jane Anders bibliography

    ‘A whole star system with no organic life anywhere near, not for several light-years in any direction. Not even bacteria.’ Yma lets out a dark purple bobble [sic]. ‘Why do I find myself doubting this is a coincidence?’

Research requirements

antedating 1868

Earliest cite

in the Student and Intellectual Observer

Research History
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2021 cite from C. J. Anders (who confirmed by email that the word "bobble" was intentional).

Last modified 2021-08-12 16:59:22
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.