Tau Cetan n.

a native or inhabitant of the Tau Ceti star system; (also) the language of Tau Cetans

Also in form Tau Cetian.



  • 1931 J. Schlossel Extra-Galactic Invaders in Amazing Stories Quarterly Spring 282/1 page image J. Schlossel bibliography

    ‘It is suicide.’ ‘I know.’ ‘Better death,’ the thoughts of the Tau Cetian broke in sharply, ‘than to face the ignominy of retreat.’ ‘I will go with you.’ ‘We knew it, biped. Let us start.’

  • 1960 P. Anderson Eve Times Four in Time & Stars (1975) 160 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    Not that the Tau Cetian was unprepossessing. He had a certain elfin quality, big dome of a head and small torso poised on four spidery legs, two slender arms waving in time with his fronded ears, hairless pale-gold skin, the face quasi-human but with great green eyes, the clothing a filmy shimmer of veils. His size, below one meter, added to the charm. However, he talked.

  • 1963 J. W. Campbell Where Did Everybody Go? in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction July 96/2 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    Suppose that there are planets of Tau Ceti, and Project Ozma’s beamed radio signals are quite futile—just as futile as the Tau Cetans beamed clairvoyance-band transmissions. Never having worked with the electromagnetic spectrum, they don't have the radio-optical gadget we know as TV; they use an equally sophisticated gadget that is a clairvoyance machine.

  • 1971 P. J. Farmer To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1975) iv. 21 page image Philip José Farmer bibliography

    The being—the Tau Cetan!—talked so pragmatically, so sensibly, that he provided an anchor to which Burton could tie his senses before they drifted away again. And, despite the repulsive alienness of the creature, he exuded a friendliness and an openness that warmed Burton. Moreover, any creature that came from a civilization which could span many trillions of miles of interstellar space must have very valuable knowledge and resources.

  • 1979 J. M. Ford Adventure of Solitary Engineer in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine Sept. 118 John M. Ford bibliography

    ‘Watson, you see, but you do not—oh, forget it. Indeed it is a bottle, Watson; a bottle that once held Chateau Ganymede ’86, fermented from subsurface fungi on Jupiter’s moon, a vile concoction. I keep mine in a radioactive-ash-scuttle. There is your murderer.’ ‘You mean Bruce Dee was drunk.’ ‘As the proverbial Tau Cetan, Watson.’

  • 2009 E. Brown Cosmopath i. 19 page image Eric Brown bibliography

    He peered around the corner, looking for the tall jade-green Tau Cetian: all he saw were the smiling faces of Thais and Indians going about their endless daily business. Reassured, but still wary enough to keep his program enabled, he moved off down the alley.

  • 2011 E. M. Lerner Say What? Ruminations About Language, Communications, and Science Fiction in Analog Science Fiction & Fact Mar. 33/1 Edward M. Lerner bibliography

    Writers have used many techniques: [...] Aliens with great language skills, who have mastered English so that the human characters (and readers) don’t have to learn, say, Tau Cetian.

  • 2019 R. Britt Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 4 Easter Eggs in Den of Geek (online) 8 Feb. page image Ryan Britt

    Even after the universal translator is temporarily fixed, Detmer mentions that her control panel is still in ‘tau cetian.’ This seems to reference a language indigenous to the Tau Ceti star system.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Research History
Suggested, and most cites submitted, by Bee Ostrowsky.

Last modified 2022-12-22 16:51:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.