warp speed n.

a faster-than-light speed, attained by a spaceship with a propulsion mechanism capable of manipulating space-time; (also, in extended use) an extraordinarily high speed

Often associated with Star Trek.

Memory Alpha

Star Trek


  • 1952 F. B. Holden Yachting Party in Imagination Jan. 95/2 page image Fox B. Holden bibliography

    'Free' speed, with old-fashioned fuel-eating jets which were supposed to be carried as emergency power units only, was forty thousand miles a second at best—warp-speed, depending on the dimension you used, had a top of better than a thousand light-years a minute.

  • [1953 Planet Stories Mar. 2 page image

    We’re in trouble again. Bad trouble. Letters are skidding in at space-warp speed censoring the daylights out of PLANET for running three Bryan Berry stories at one time. It is hard to see why we should get especial hell for this. Here comes a writer who is well-set in England though new here—here were three gems of high nutritional value—here was a magazine with a staggering I.Q.’d audience—a natural, yes? ]

  • 1966 J. Sohl Corbomite Maneuver (Star Trek episode) (transcription) Jerry Sohl

    Kirk Helm, give us warp speed.

  • 1967 D. C. Fontana Journey to Babel (Star Trek episode) (transcription) D. C. Fontana

    Spock Vessel changing course, heading toward us at high warp speed.

  • 1968 ‘L. Cronin’ Spock’s Brain (Star Trek episode) (transcription) Margaret Wander Bonanno

    Scott I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s operating at warp speed. I’d like a try at that teacher myself.

  • 1973 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 162/2 (classified ad) page image

    Alien Space costs $4 and gives each player command of a warp speed starship, equipped with blazers, shields, sensors, main and auxiliary engines, life support systems, etc.

  • 1977 S. Marshak & M. Culbreath Price of Phoenix (1985) xxi. 136, Sondra Marshak Myrna Culbreath bibliography

    I would feel better if we could head out at warp speed.

  • 1979 G. Roddenberry Star Trek: Motion Picture–Novel 101 Gene Roddenberry

    ‘Engineer,’ Kirk persisted, ‘we need warp speed now!’

  • 1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor i. 14 David Dvorkin Daniel Dvorkin bibliography

    ‘Two hours minimum, sir, at top warp speed. At our present rate, two days.’ ‘Damn… Maximum warp, then.’

  • 1992 B. Sterling Hacker Crackdown 232 Bruce Sterling

    In 1990, the civil libertarians of cyberspace assembled out of nowhere in particular, at warp speed.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother’s Keeper i. v. 61 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    Earth’s forces had warp-speed capability, while the Romulans had to rely on mere impulse engines.

  • 2007 Fangoria (#265) Aug. 34/3 page image

    One movie after another hopping on the bloodsoaked bandwagon, studios content to distill remakes at warp speed and writers simply meandering thanks to a dearth of ideas.

  • 2012 J. Scalzi Redshirts (2013) 174 page image John Scalzi bibliography

    When your friend is coherent tell him that if he shows up again, he’ll achieve warp speed thanks to my foot in his ass.

Research requirements

antedating 1952

Research History
David Summers submitted a 1979 cite from Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" novelization.
Bill Mullins submitted a 1952 cite found on Internet Archive.

OED updated June 2003, with a 1977 earliest cite.

Last modified 2021-01-26 20:38:04
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.