groundhog n.

a person who does not regularly travel in space

[extended from the aviation sense ‘a person who has never been in an airplane’ (1926 in OED)]

  • 1940 N. S. Bond Beyond LightPlanet Stories Winter 54/2 page image Nelson S. Bond

    The simple truth is…that you’re a groundhog and a damned poor son-in-law for a spaceman.

  • 1942 ‘A. MacDonald’ in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 18/2 Robert A. Heinlein

    Stevens streaked in after him, displaying a groundhog’s harmless pride in handling himself well in space conditions.

  • 1942 ‘A. MacDonald’ in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 19/1 Robert A. Heinlein

    It is hard for a groundhog to dismiss the notion of weight.

  • 1976 J. Varley Bagatelle in Galaxy, Incorporating Worlds of If Oct. 10/1 John Varley

    What are you…get your hand off me you…you groundhog.

  • 1983 M. McCollum Life Probe i. 16 Michael McCollum

    Spacers pick up careful habits…if they live long enough. Where a groundhog would have left the record for later, Brea always checked and double checked everything.

  • 1994 G. Benford Sleepstory in Matter's End (1996) 59 Gregory Benford

    Even after the human race had moved into the near-Earth orbits, scattering their spindly factories and cylinder-cities and rock-hopping entrepreneurs, the human race was dominated by nay-saying groundhogs.

  • 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.


Research requirements

antedating 1940

Earliest cite

Nelson S. Bond in Planet Stories

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1942 citation from Robert Heinlein's "Waldo".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1996 reprint of Gregory Benford's 1994 "Sleepstory".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of John Varley's "Bagatelle"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1976 first magazine appearance.
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1990 reprint of Michael McCollum's "Life Probe".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1992 reprint of John Barnes' "Orbital Resonance".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1999 cite from Jack L. Chalker's "Priam's Lens".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1940 cite from Nelson S. Bond in Planet Stories.

Last modified 2021-02-11 16:36:44
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.