light-speed n. 2

a unit of measure of speed equal to the speed of light; cf. light n. 1

  • 1929 E. Hamilton Star-Stealers in Weird Tales Feb. 151/1 page image Edmond Hamilton bibliography

    Our velocity had slackened steadily as we approached that star, and we were moving at a bare one light-speed when we finally swept down toward its outermost, far-swinging planet

  • 1932 J. W. Campbell Invaders from the Infinite in Amazing Stories Quarterly Spring 148/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    The skilful hands at the controls were turning adjustments now, and that disc of flame seemed to leap toward him with a hundred light-speeds, growing to a disc as large as a dime in an instant, while the myriad points of the stars seemed to scatter like frightened chickens, fleeing from the growing sun, out of the screen.

  • 1932 J. W. Campbell Invaders from the Infinite in Amazing Stories Quarterly Spring 222/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    Again a tiny ship entered Thett’s far-flung atmosphere, and slowed to less than a light speed, and sent its signal call ahead.

  • 1947 W. Weber Letter in Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr. 107/1 page image

    If it goes 3/4 light speed in the same direction the planet is going, the ship is tearing along at 1 1/4 light speeds in relation to planet B.

  • 1956 ‘M. Leinster’ Critical Difference in Astounding Science Fiction July 13/2 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    Colonized worlds are like isolated islands in an unimaginably vast ocean, and the ships that ply between them at thirty light-speeds seem merely to creep.

  • 1966 L. Niven Neutron Star in Worlds of If Oct. 20/1 page image Larry Niven bibliography

    I might well put the…hull to its toughest test yet: smashing it into a neutron star at half lightspeed.

  • 1990 M. Bishop in Thrust (#35) Winter 23/3 page image Michael Bishop

    Stith has given us hyperspace where lightspeed is a tad over 22 miles per hour, and levels of reality where characters literally see themselves coming and going.

  • 1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. vii. 44 Vernor Vinge bibliography

    At three-tenths lightspeed, Pham spent decades in coldsleep getting from star to star.

  • 2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora’s Star vii. 183 Peter F. Hamilton bibliography

    Once the ship accelerates to its flight velocity of decimal seven two lightspeed, its range is limited only by the amount of fuel it carries to power the force field generators, and indeed the lifetime of the generators themselves.

Research requirements

antedating 1929

Earliest cite

Edmond Hamilton, "The Star-Stealers", in Weird Tales

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a ca. 1965 reprint of "The Star Stealers", by Edmond Hamilton; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in its first publication (Weird Tales, February, 1929).
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from a letter written by Wallace Weber to Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1956 cite from "Critical Difference" by Murray Leinster (pseudonym of Will F. Jenkins)
Fred Galvin submitted a 1932 cite from John W. Campbell Jr.'s "Invaders From the Infinite"
Ralf Brown submitted a 1993 cite from Mike Resnick's "Prophet"

This appears to be a relatively uncommon usage: we would like to see further cites of any date

Last modified 2023-10-30 15:36:21
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.