subterrene n.

a subterranean tunnelling machine; esp. one which melts the rock in front of it and causes the molten rock to form a glassy lining to the tunnel as it develops

Now chiefly used outside of SF; however, real machines of this sort have not progressed beyond prototypes.

  • 1956 A. C. Clarke City & Stars i. 6 Arthur C. Clarke

    With a deafening screech of metal upon rockโ€ฆthe subterrene smashed through the wall and came to rest beside them.

  • 2009 J. Axler Warlord of Pit xi. 131

    There were several different types of Subterrenes, but the largest and most efficient operated by melting its way through rock and soil,โ€ฆleaving a neat, solid-glass-lined tunnel behind it.

Research requirements

antedating 1956

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