humanoid adj.

esp. of a robot or alien: having a humanoid form; of or relating to humanoids



  • [1940 N. L. Knight Crisis in Utopia in Astounding Stories Aug. 127/1 page image Norman L. Knight bibliography

    By causing artificial, controlled mutations they have succeeded in producing a mutated type of man…. The secrecy was vital, lest the sudden discovery of this widely divergent humanoid species bring a violent, murderous reaction from unprepared people.]

  • 1940 I. Asimov Homo Sol in Astounding Science-Fiction Sept. 118/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    Beings of every manlike type and shape were there. Some were tall and polelike, some broad and burly, some short and stumpy. There were those with long, wiry hair, those with scanty gray fuzz covering head and face, others with thick, blond curls piled high, and still others entirely bald. Some possessed long, hair-covered trumpets of ears, others had tympanum membranes flush with their temples. There were those present with large gazellelike eyes of a deep-purple luminosity, others with tiny optics of a beady black. There was a delegate with green skin, one with an eight-inch proboscis and one with a vestigial tail. Internally, variation was almost infinite. But all were alike in two things. They were all Humanoid. They all possessed intelligence.

  • 1940 I. Asimov Homo Sol in Astounding Science-Fiction Sept. 130/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    And I hope these learned gentlemen still react in a vaguely Humanoid way.

  • 1944 J. Shelton Culture in Astounding Science Fiction Sept. 46/1 Jerry Shelton bibliography

    I admit that it is decidedly a departure from the norm for a humanoid race to not appear interested in gainful trade—or acceptance of gifts.

  • 1953 A. Norton Star Rangers xv. 195 Andre Norton bibliography

    But that is a humanoid characteristic, I believe.

  • 1955 C. Oliver Field Expedient in Astounding Science Fiction Jan. 91/2 page image Chad Oliver bibliography

    The ship carried two pilots, a navigator, a doctor, fifty babies, twenty-five special humanoid robots, computers, and supplies.

  • 1965 P. Anderson Agent of Terran Empire 1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    The chilling realization came that he was not aboard a human ship. Humanoid, yes, from the size and design of things, but no vessel ever built within the borders of the Empire, and no foreign make that he knew of.

  • 1968 G. Coon Arena in J. Blish Star Trek 2 (1968) 2 Gene L. Coon

    At the same time a humanoid voice, strong and yet somehow youthful, shook the air of the bridge.

  • 1970 J. Blish Spock must Die! iii. 16 James Blish bibliography

    He…personally know Ayelborne, Claymare and Trefayne—or at least knows the humanoid shapes they assume.

  • 1980 D. Brin Sundiver i.iii. 30 David Brin

    It was humanoid, standing at least two meters tall.

  • 1984 N. Peart The Body Electric (song, perf. ‘Rush’) page image Neil Peart

    One humanoid escapee One android on the run Seeking freedom beneath A lonely desert sun.

  • 1990 ‘J. Tiptree, Jr.’ Color of Neanderthal Eyes 2 James Tiptree, Jr.

    His notes in the Ephemeris say that there are humanoid natives…on the other side of the planet from me.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity Prologue 3 Greg Cox bibliography

    Dozens of delegates, humanoid and otherwise, shouted and cried out as they fought each other to reach the exits.

  • 2020 E. Bear Machine ii. 31 Elizabeth Bear bibliography

    The lattice furled itself up like a series of stage curtains being drawn open, and we found ourselves face-to-facelessness with a humanoid form like a shaped bubble of inexplicably golden mercury.

Research requirements

antedating 1940

Earliest cite

Isaac Asimov, Homo Sol, in Astounding

Research History
The OED has cites for "humanoid" as an adjective with the sense "distinguished from anthropoid as being more human in character" back to 1918; the first cite as a term in sf is from 1952.

Rick Hauptmann submitted a cite from the 1965 first edition of Poul Anderson's "Agent of the Terran Empire".
Imran Ghory submitted a cite from a 1995 reprint of Isaac Asimov's "Evidence"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1946 first appearance.
Mark Olson submitted a cite from a 1953 reprint of John Campbell's "The Black Star Passes"; however Andrew May checked the 1930 first appearance and the word does not appear in that version. Fred Galvin submitted a different cite from a reprint of the same story, "The Black Star Passes"; but Andrew May determined that the cite also was not in the original 1930 magazine appearance.
Patrick Broadhurst submitted a cite from a 1982 reprint of "Culture" by Jerry Shelton: Mike Christie verified it in the 1944 original publication.
Fred Galvin submitted cites from a 1974 reprint of Asimov's "Homo Sol"; Jesse Sheidlower verified these in the first magazine appearance.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1940 cite from Norman Knight's Crisis in Utopia, in Astounding; this refers to a genetically engineered human, rather than an alien, so we have put it in brackets.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2020 cite from Elizabeth Bear.

Last modified 2021-02-03 16:16:23
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.