space v. 2

to execute (a person) by forcing them into space without a spacesuit

  • 1952 R. A. Heinlein Rolling Stones 49 Robert A. Heinlein

    ‘Grandpa…how would you like to be spaced?’ ‘No future in it. Thin stuff, vacuum. Low vitamin content.’

  • 1952 R. A. Heinlein Rolling Stones 244 Robert A. Heinlein

    Sound effect of blow with blunt instrument, groan, and the unmistakable cycling of an air lock—Castor: ‘Sorry, folks. My assistant has just spaced Mr. Rudolf.’

  • 1974 L. Niven & J. Pournelle Mote in God’s Eye 485 Larry Niven Jerry Pournelle bibliography

    ‘Curse. And how many Mediator pups when they returned?’ ‘I had four sisters.’ ‘Curse!’ Mediators identified with Masters. They held the usual Master emotions about children. Though sterile from an early age, Ivan was not immune to those emotions; but he knew. The children should have been spaced.

  • 1975 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Jan. 77

    Besides, they'd just space me for desertion. So why bother.

  • 1982 C. Yoke From Alienation to Personal Triumph in T. Staicar Feminine Eye (1982) ix. 116

    He convinces Siamang to abandon Mythili on the planet’s surface rather than ‘spacing’ her on the way home.

  • 1990 A. McCaffrey & E. Moon Sassinak (1991) 242 Anne McCaffrey Elizabeth Moon bibliography

    In the end they'd won—though they'd had to space most of the trader’s original crew—and she had brought the ship in whole.

  • 1990 L. M. Bujold Vor Game 171 Lois McMaster Bujold

    Oser…studied Miles in silence for a full minute. At last one hand fell open, to point at the guard, who straightened attentively. ‘Space them,’ Oser ordered.

  • 1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. vii. 44, Vernor Vinge bibliography

    I was lucky they didn’t space me.

  • 2001 D. Weber Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington in D. Weber & E. Flint Changer of Worlds (2002) 86 David Weber

    She remembered all the times she and Academy friends had teased one another, humorously threatening to ‘space’ someone for some real or imagined misdeed, and it was no longer funny.

Research requirements

antedating 1952

Earliest cite

R. Heinlein 'The Rolling Stones'

Research History
Mike Christie found a citation in a 1978 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "The Rolling Stones"; Andrew Dalke confirmed this cite in the 1952 original and provided another cite from the same source.

Dan Tilque submitted a 1990 cite from Lois McMaster Bujold's "The Vor Game".
Edward Bornstein submitted a cite from a reprint of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's 1974 "The Mote in God's Eye".
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1991 reprint of Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon's 1990 "Sassinak".
Dan Tilque submitted a cite from a reprint of Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1975 original magazine appearance.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 2002 reprint of David Weber's 2001 "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington."

Last modified 2021-01-05 19:49:05
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.