light n. 1

= lightspeed, used as a unit of measure; cf. light-speed n. 2


  • 1934 E. E. Smith Skylark of Valeron in Astounding Stories Sept. 36/1 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    We're not supposed to know anything about the five-light drive of the Fenachrone, you know.

  • 1948 ˜‘M. Leinster’™ Planet of Sand in Famous Fantastic Mysteries Feb. 112/2 Murray Leinster

    We're not making much time. Not over six hundred lights, I'd say. But we'll get there.

  • 1954 R. Garrett Time Fuze in If Mar. 68/2 Randall Garrett bibliography

    The ship had only been provisioned to go to Alpha Centauri, scout the system without landing on any of the planets, and return. At ten lights, top speed for the ultradrive, it would take better than three months to get back.

  • 1960 P. Anderson Eve Times Four in Fantastic Science Fiction Stories Apr. 79/2 Poul Anderson bibliography

    But the top secondary speed of this boat is about 500 lights. The ship is going nearly 2,000: we don’t share that any longer, now when we're out of its drive field.

  • 1965 L. Niven World of Ptavvs in Worlds of Tomorrow Mar. 8/2 page image Larry Niven bibliography

    At .93 lights…the stars become unrecognizable.

  • 1974 R. Silverberg Schwartz Between Galaxies in Feast of St. Dionysus (1987) 81 Robert Silverberg

    Three boneless Spicans do a twining dance of propitiation to while away the slow hours of nine-light travel.

Research requirements

antedating 1948

Earliest cite

Murray Leinster, 'Planet of Sand'

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1954 cite from Randall Garrett's "Time Fuze". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1965 reprint of Poul Anderson's "Eve Times Four"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1960 original. Fred Galvin submitted a 1948 cite from Murray Leinster's "Planet of Sand". Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1965 cite from Larry Niven's "World of Ptavvs".

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.