flitter n.

a small usu. short-range aircraft or spaceship


  • 1941 E. E. Smith Vortex Blaster in Comet July 10/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    Then all three went out to the flitter. A tiny speedster, really; a torpedo bearing the stubby wings and the ludicrous tail-surfaces…characteristic of the tricky, cranky, but ultra-maneuverable breed.

  • 1944 ‘W. Long’ Circle of Confusion in Astounding Science Fiction Mar. 54/1 page image George O. Smith bibliography

    Small flitters were powered and made ready, and everything that carried manual controls was inspected and cleaned for action.

  • 1955 ‘A. North’ Sargasso of Space (1957) 53 Andre Norton bibliography

    The small flitters carried by the Queen for exploration work held with comfort a two-man crew—with crowding, three.

  • 1957 J. Vance Languages of Pao in Satellite Science Fiction Dec. 10/2 page image Jack Vance bibliography

    You delivered sixty-four barrage monitors, five hundred and twelve patrol flitters, a large number of multiple resonators, energetics, wasps and hand-weapons. These accord with the original order.

  • 1966 C. C. MacApp Frost Planet in Worlds of Tomorrow Nov. 46/2 page image C. C. MacApp bibliography

    Man three or four squad flitters and get them aloft. Tell them to intercept and turn back anyone headed for Lubtown.

  • 1981 R. Silverberg Waiting for Earthquake in R. Silverberg Conglomeroid Cocktail Party (1984) 204 Robert Silverberg bibliography

    At the landing strip where commuters from Enrique and Pellucidar once had parked their flitters after flying in for the weekend, he checked out his own, an ‘83 model with sharply raked lines and a sophisticated moire-pattern skin, now somewhat pitted and rusted by neglect.

  • 1982 A. McCaffrey Crystal Singer 91 Anne McCaffrey bibliography

    The cost of the flitter craft used by Crystal Singers in the ranges was staggering; the sonic cutting gear that had to be tuned to the user was also expensive and a variety of other items whose purpose was not yet known to her were basic Singer’s tools.

  • 1993 P. Anderson Harvest of Stars (1994) 40 Poul Anderson bibliography

    The view from the roof bore comparison with what he saw from his flitter before he landed…

  • 1994 S. M. Baxter Ring (1996) 43 Stephen Baxter bibliography

    The flitter tumbled from the shimmering throat of the wormhole transit route from Port Sol to Earthport. Louise Ye Armonk peered out of the cramped cabin, looking for Earth. Mark sat beside her, a bookslate on his lap.

  • 2005 Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest Fall 12

    Flitters buzzed through the air between the spires, and brass skinned vacuum-blimps loomed over the stinking roar. They added their own unique shadows to the fuming darkness we tradesiders scurried through.

  • 2015 B. Cooper Biology at the End of the World in Asimov’s Science Fiction Sept. 15 page image Brenda Cooper bibliography

    The agristation was part of a community of college stations, so we flew into a constellation of habitats and ships. Sumot chose to dock the Orion 8 at the university’s main station and take one of our flitters to the agristation.

Research requirements

antedating 1941

Earliest cite

Edward E. Smith, 'The Vortex Blaster'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1984 reprint of Andre Norton's "Star Born".
Stuart Young submitted a cite from a 1981 reprint of Frank Herbert's "The Godmakers.
Patrick Dusoulier submitted a 1957 cite from Jack Vance's "The Languages of Pao".
James Birdsall submitted a cite from a 1964 reprint of Andre Norton's 1956 "The Plague Ships".
Ethan Merritt submitted a cite from a reprint of Andre Norton's 1955 "Sargasso of Space"; Mike Christie verified it in a 1957 edition.
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1944 cite from George O. Smith's "Circle of Confusion".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1941 cite from Edward E. Smith's "The Vortex Blaster".
Dr. M. Lohr submitted a cite from a 1996 reprint of Stephen Baxter's "Ring".
Katrina Campbell submitted a 1982 cite from Anne McCaffrey's "Crystal Singer".

Last modified 2021-12-22 12:06:11
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.