nanobot n.

a nanoscale self-propelled machine, esp. one that has some degree of autonomy and can reproduce


  • 1989 Re: DNA Mutation Elimination in sci.nanotech (Usenet newsgroup) 2 May

    Wouldn’t want to blast a cell because a nanobot spotted a strand of DNA for a mitochondrian [sic] and mistook it for a malformed gene.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 130 John Varley bibliography

    The term ‘nanobot’ means a very small self-propelled programmed machine, and that includes many other varieties of intracellular devices than the ones currently under discussion.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 165 John Varley bibliography

    The nanobots in the pills were too cheap to salvage; when they'd done their work they simply turned themselves off in your kidneys and you pissed them away.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 206 John Varley bibliography

    I synthesized a nanobot that goes after the things that would normally rot in your mouth while you are sleeping, and changes them into things that taste good.

  • 1993 Science Fiction Age Jan. 26/2

    Given the technology to fabricate virus-sized electromechanical devices, there would be no reason to prevent us from designing cholesterol-chompers, a sort of arterial ‘roto-rooter’, or even virus-destroying ‘nanobots’ to recognize and mechanically disassemble unwanted viruses and bacteria within the body.

  • 1994 S. M. Baxter Ring (1996) ii. 23 Stephen Baxter bibliography

    She subvocalized a command to send nanobots scouring through her bloodstream; she sobered up fast, with a brief shudder.

  • 1999 W. Gibson All Tomorrow's Parties vii. 32 William Gibson

    Nobody knew exactly what it was that had spilled… The government was using nanobots to clean it up through.

  • 2001 Locus June 29/3

    He knows how to put his own stamp on some of the basic shared problems of characters in oh-god-i'm-being-taken-over-by-a-virus/nanobot/alien-intruder-inside-my-mind plots.

  • 2006 J. Scalzi Ghost Brigades (2007) xi. 253

    Jared maneuvered himself to look at Arist and drank it in until his BrainPal, sensing the first tenuous effects of the atmosphere, wrapped him in a protective sphere of nanobots that flowed from a pack on his back and secured him in the middle, to keep him from making contact with the sphere and crisping himself where they intersected.

Research requirements

antedating 1989

Earliest cite

Usenet posting on sci.nanotech

Last modified 2021-01-28 02:10:07
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.