faster-than-light adj.

that is travelling or can travel faster than light


  • 1940 D. D. Sharp Lodestone Core in Astonishing Stories Aug. 84/1 D. D. Sharp bibliography

    It must be aluminum alloy and faster than light by three times at least.

  • 1941 T. Alexander Super Salesman of Space in Planet Comics Jan. 28/2 page image

    Charlie stepped up the speed of his faster-than-light ship and headed in the direction of the ringed planet.

  • 1947 ‘M. Leinster’ Manless Worlds in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 32/2 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    The journeying squadron—every ship wrapped in the utter unapproachability of faster-than-light travel—was oblivious to all that had occurred. Its separate ships came out of overdrive some forty million miles from the solitary planet Ades, lonelily circling its remote small sun.

  • 1948 P. Anderson Genius in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 25/1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    They'll know the principles of the star drive in a few more generations, and invent a faster-than-light engine almost at once!

  • 1952 C. Oliver First to Stars in Astounding Science-Fiction July 136/1 page image Chad Oliver

    The Viking was not, of course, a faster-than-light ship.

  • 1952 R. A. Heinlein Year of Jackpot in Galaxy Science Fiction Mar. ii. 19/2 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography


  • 1964 M. Kurland & C. Anderson Ten Years to Doomsday iv. 32

    He described the development of transportation from the coach and four of baroque days to the faster-than-light spacecraft of the present.

  • 1966 E. E. Smith Skylark DuQuesne vi. 43 Edward E. Smith

    Whether or not a Tellus-type planet ordinarily becomes unfit to support human life before its sun goes nova is not surely known. Nor does it matter very much; for, long before either event occurs, the human race involved has developed a faster-than-light drive and has at its disposal dozens or hundreds of Earth-like planets upon which even subhuman life has not yet developed.

  • 1967 J. Brunner Born Under Mars xiii. 96 John Brunner

    Every suggestion that sprang to my mind was open to the charge that it wasn’t a new concept but an elaboration of an old one, except the faster-than-light drive. And we'd dealt with that.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 191 bibliography

    The engines…run the Enterprise and drive it at faster-than-light speeds.

  • 1969 M. Z. Bradley Brass Dragon (1980) iii. 50 Marion Zimmer Bradley bibliography

    If they start from Earth, you can’t turn on any faster-than-light drive inside the orbit of Saturn, or you'll crash the asteroids.

  • 1970 L. Niven Ringworld 106 Larry Niven

    There wasn’t even a theoretical basis for faster-than-light travel. We never did invent hyperdrive, if you'll recall. We'd never have discovered it by accident, either, because we'd never have thought to do our experiments out beyond the singularity.

  • 1991 O. S. Card Xenocide xi. 246 Orson Scott Card

    You can conceive of faster-than-light travel, and yet you can’t imagine destroying the Lusitania Fleet?

  • 1994 R. Silverberg Hot Sky at Midnight 190 Robert Silverberg

    I speak of our attempts, of which you have probably heard rumors, to develop a faster-than-light spaceship that will be capable of conducting human colonists to suitable planets outside the solar system.

  • 2012 N. Spinrad On Books in Asimov’s Science Fiction April–May 183/1 page image Norman Spinrad

    Why can’t we have dinosaurs on Venus and canal-side civilizations on Mars and faster than light galleons[?]

Research requirements

antedating 1940

Earliest cite

D. D. Sharp, "The Lodestone Core"

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1948 cite from Poul Anderson's "Genius".
Michael Dolbear submitted a 2002 cite for "faster than light" from David Weber's "War of Honor".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1977 reprint of Michael Kurland and Chester Anderson's "Ten Years to Doomsday".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1966 reprint of E.E. Smith's 1965 "Skylark DuQuesne".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from an undated reprint of John Brunner's 1967 "Born Under Mars".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from A. Bertram Chandler's "Catch the Star Winds".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from Save Van Arnam's "Starmind".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1991 cite from Dana Stabenow's "Second Star".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Murray Leinster's "The Manless Worlds"
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1997 reprint of C.M. Kornbluth's "Dead Center": Mike Christie verified it in its first publication (in Stirring Science Stories, February 1941, under the pseudonym 'S.D. Gottesman')
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from "The Lodestone Core", by D. D. Sharp
Fred Galvin submitted a 1941 cite from Tom Alexander's "Super Salesman of Space", in Planet Comics.
Jesse Sheidlower checked Harl Vincent's "Faster Than Light" (Amazing Stories, Fall/Winter 1932); all of the examples are adverbial, not adjectival.

Last modified 2022-05-20 12:26:05
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.