fanspeak n.

distinctive language used by science-fiction fans

[after newspeak n.]


SF Fandom


  • 1951 Fanspeak (title of NFFF Welcome Leaflet #5) Dec. page image


  • 1952 A. H. Rapp, L. Hoffman & R. Boggs Fanspeak 5/2 page image Arthur H. Rapp

    Fanspeak. The language, typography, and cliches of fandom. Term is derived from ‘newspeak’, the language of the future, in George Orwell’s 1984.

  • 1959 A. Hill Letter in Science Fiction Stories Sept. 117/2 page image Alma Hill

    Words become progressively improper from seven phonemes on down:…. Three-letter words are either vulgar or quarrelsome, or both; two-letter words are obscene and one-letter words insane…. We could do a lot worse than introduce a system like that into Fanspeak.

  • 1977 D. Knight Futurians 71 page image Damon Knight bibliography

    In forty years of talking to each other, science fiction fans have evolved a jargon of their own, sometimes called ‘fanspeak’.

  • 1980 ‘T. Wayne’ I Know Who Sawed Courtney’s Boat in DNQ (#31) 5 Aug. (unpaged) page image Taral Wayne

    A small club in Poughkeepsie can probably boast as many members as all fandom had in 1938. Creating fan lore in those days meant only telling a dozen or two people, and fan speak had only to be picked up by two or three prominent fan faces to seem to be used everywhere.

  • 1985 D. Schweitzer Letter in Science Fiction Review Winter 47/2 page image Darrell Schweitzer bibliography

    The need has arisen for a fanspeak term which means ‘strangers we ignore at conventions’.

  • 1996 R. Tuerk Science Fiction Fandom in Journal of American Culture (vol. 19, no. 2) Summer 147/2 Richard Tuerk

    Even with the glossary, some of the essays are so full of fanspeak that they are difficult to read.

  • 2009 M. Chabon Amateur Family in Manhood for Amateurs page image Michael Chabon bibliography

    Fan is more accurate, I suppose, but it spends too much time hanging around the sports page and ESPN, and anyway, the word (even with its fanspeak plural, fen) is a clipped form of the pejorative fanatic, with all its connotations of narrowness, intolerance, unreason, a condemnatory fervor.

Research requirements

antedating 1951

Last modified 2022-01-16 18:44:20
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.