tight-beam n.

a highly focused energy beam, esp. one that conveys communications; a device that sends such a beam; a message sent by such a device


  • 1930 E. E. Smith Skylark Three in Amazing Stories Oct. 617/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    He’s putting it on a tight beam—that’s fine, we can chase it up.

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Skylark of Valeron in Astounding Stories Aug. 29/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    ‘Observation Officer of the Z12Q, attention!’ snapped from the tight-beam headquarters communicator. ‘Cut off those spy rays and report yourself under arrest for treason!’

  • 1940 ‘L. Gregor’ Flight to Galileo in Astonishing Stories Oct. 92/2 page image Milton A. Rothman bibliography

    This came on our own private, tight[-]beam, scrambled phone hook-up, just before the interference broke it up.

  • 1951 K. MacLean Pictures Don’t Lie in Galaxy Science Fiction Aug. 105/2 Katherine MacLean bibliography

    ‘It’s not exactly code. All you need to do is record it and slow it down. They're not broadcasting at us. If a star has planets, inhabited planets, and there is broadcasting between them, they would send it on a tight beam to save power.’ He looked for comprehension. ‘You know, like a spotlight. Theoretically, a tight beam can go on forever without losing power. But aiming would be difficult from planet to planet. You can’t expect a beam to stay on target, over such distances, more than a few seconds at a time. So they'd naturally compress each message into a short half-second or one-second-length package and send it a few hundred times in one long blast to make sure it is picked up during the instant the beam swings across the target.’

  • 1970 A. McCaffrey Ship who Sang (1991) ii. 32 Anne McCaffrey bibliography

    I need to use your tight beam.

  • 2020 E. Bear Machine v. 80 Elizabeth Bear bibliography

    There was a snap of connection. No crackle of old-fashioned static this time. Sally had given me a tightbeam laser cluster.

Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite

E.E. Smith, 'Skylark Three''

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1950 reprint of E. E. Smith's 1937 "Galactic Patrol".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Randall Garrett's "The Saboteur".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Murray Leinster's "Skit-Tree Planet".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1951 cite from Katherine MacLean's "Pictures Don't Lie".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from Lee Gregor's "Flight to Galileo".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from the Gutenberg etext edition of E.E. Smith's "Triplanetary"
Fred Galvin submitted cites from a 1984 reprint of E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Skylark of Valeron": Mike Christie verified them in the original magazine serial.
Fred Galvin submitted a September 1930 cite from the magazine serialization of E.E. Smith's "Skylark Three".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2020 cite from Elizabeth Bear.

Last modified 2022-09-14 15:08:16
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.