spacer n. 1

= spaceman n.; esp. a civilian who travels or works in space

  • 1937 P. Wordley Robin Hood of Space in Atom (vol. 1, no. 1) Mar. 6 page image

    ‘Private message, sir,’ Grant replied. ‘Seems to be from another spacer.’

  • 1940 I. Asimov Callistan Menace in Astonishing Stories Apr. 71/2 Isaac Asimov bibliography

    I've read books about him. He was the greatest spacer there ever was.

  • 1942 C. Cartmill Some Day We'll Find You in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 41/1 page image Cleve Cartmill bibliography

    Why do you think Martians are barred from approaching spacers nearer than five hundred yards? You know they can copy anything once they nose around with their mind tendrils. Let one Martian into the control room of a spacer, and Trading Post’s monopoly is broken.

  • 1944 I. Asimov Big & the Little in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 9/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    My grandfather was a blood-poor son-of-a-spacer who died heaving coal at starving wages before the Foundation.

  • 1964 ‘H. Smith’ Year of the Earthman in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Oct. 78/1 page image Hogan Smith bibliography

    When spacers first went out from the world they sometimes left the business of the earth and went about their own business. Some of them caused much harm to earth doing this and many harsh restrictions were placed on spacers.

  • 1981 ‘C. J. Cherryh’ Pride of Chanur (1991) vii. 105 C. J. Cherryh

    The papers came back, plasticized and permanent with Tully’s face staring back from them, species handwritten, classification general spacer, sex male.

  • 1986 D. Brin & G. Benford Heart of Comet 90 David Brin Gregory Benford bibliography

    Probably too late for me, though. I'll have to go live on Earth to have my babies, and no male spacer will give up the Black to stay dirtside with me.

  • 1988 ‘C. J. Cherryh’ Cyteen 4 C. J. Cherryh

    Emigration of scientists and engineers from Sol System was feeding the spacer cultures with the best and brightest and robbing Earth of its best talent.

  • 1990 ‘J. Tiptree, Jr.’ Color of Neanderthal Eyes 34 James Tiptree, Jr.

    ‘And I think that will end the infection’, I tell him, putting away the universal antibiotic the spacers give us.

  • 1992 P. David Imzadi iv. 28 Peter David bibliography

    You can take the man out of space, but you can’t take the spacer out of the man, eh?

  • 1999 J. L. Chalker Priam's Lens ii. 17 Jack L. Chalker

    Sharing birth years was an old sport among spacers, although not between them and the groundhogs.

  • 2001 Locus June 35/3

    An entertaining old-fashioned adventure full of familiar elements (obsessed scientists, jealous academics, over-eager military, independent spacers).

  • 2008 Asimov’s Science Fiction Apr. 166

    The old spacer’s bar on Longbow Station is the only bar there that doesn’t have a name.

  • 2008 Asimov’s Science Fiction Apr. 166

    To get in, you need one of two special chips. The first is hand-held… The second is built into your ID. You get that one if you’re a legitimate spacer, operating or working for a business that requires a pilot’s license.

  • 2019 Y. H. Lee Dragon Pearl v. 41 Yoon Ha Lee bibliography

    The real action is in the Ghost Sector. According to a drunk spacer who was spilling secrets last night, a lot of ships—even Space Forces battle cruisers—are gathering there, despite its reputation.


Research requirements

antedating 1937

Earliest cite

Peter Wordley.

Research History
Imran Ghory submitted a cite from a reprint of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1944 first magazine publication.
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1973 reprint of Isaac Asimov's "The Callistan Menace", which Alistair Durie verified in the first publication (Astonishing Stories, April 1940).
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1937 cite from Peter Wordley.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2019 cite from Yoon Ha Lee.

Earliest cite in OED2: 1955. OED3 now revised to the 1940 Asimov example.

Last modified 2021-03-31 21:43:22
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.