extraterrestrial n.

a creature not from Earth

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1939 L. S. de Camp Design for Life in Astounding Science-Fiction May 103/1 page image L. Sprague de Camp bibliography

    I was moved to concoct that fragment as a result of running through a file of magazines and comparing the ideas of the writers on the form that intelligent extra-terrestrials might have. The authors are nothing if not industrious in devising a variety of shapes for their e.-t.’s.

  • 1941 ‘S. D. Gottesman’ Cosmic Stories July 15/2

    Should a face appear that hinted of Rigelian blood, or should a half-breed with the abnormally long hands and black teeth of a Betelgeusian pass the marines, there would be bloodshed and no questions asked. After a few hours of the reign of terror, the extraterrestrials crept into cellars and stayed there for the duration.

  • 1942 ‘M. Pearson’ Embassy in Astounding Science Fiction Mar. 73/1

    When I say Martian, of course, the meaning is ‘extraterrestrial of greater civilization than ours’. They may not be Martians. They may even be from another galaxy.

  • 1949 L. S. de Camp in Astounding Science Fiction July 80/1 L. Sprague de Camp

    He dreaded pricking the Dzlieri with the knife-point and bringing the extraterrestrial up with a roar of rage, but he had to take the chance.

  • 1950 F. Brown in Galaxy Science Fiction Nov. 14/2 Fredric Brown

    Suppose some extra-terrestrials have landed somewhere on Earth and have set up a station that broadcasts a ray that is causing the phenomenon.

  • 1951 M. Reynolds Case of Little Green Men 38

    ‘Listen, Harry… You hired me to check on whether or not any extra-terrestrials—’ I'd picked up that word in the stories I'd been reading all afternoon—‘were hanging around your affairs. I don’t think sitting here reading your magazine is going to get me very far along in that direction.’

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Starman Jones (1975) iii. 37 Robert A. Heinlein

    He saw the first extra-terrestrial, an eight-foot native of Epsilon Gemini V.

  • 1954 R. A. Heinlein in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction May 43 Robert A. Heinlein

    The court takes judicial notice that members of non-human races may give evidence. But nothing has been presented to show that this particular extra-terrestrial is competent.

  • 1983 R. Short Gospel from Outer Space v. 61

    Instead of Peter Pan…we have E.T., the little ‘extra-terrestrial’ who also introduces children to flying but also wants to ‘go home’.

  • 1987 O. Butler Dawn (1991) i. ii. 11 Octavia E. Butler

    You're one of the few English speakers who never considered that she might be in the hands of extraterrestrials.

  • 1988 S. McCrumb Bimbos of Death Sun xii. 157 Sharyn McCrumb bibliography

    An assortment of medieval dignitaries and extraterrestrials sipped grapefruit punch (listed on the menu as Pangalactic Gargleblaster).

  • 1991 A. D. Foster Cat.a.lyst ix. 133 Alan Dean Foster

    One o' his theories claimed that these here Nazca lines were made by the locals to help extraterrestrials' spaceships land here.

  • 1992 Science Fiction Age Nov. 14/2

    Most readers are going to recognize the feeling, even if they’ve never had it about extraterrestrials.

  • 2014 S. Coonts Saucer: Savage Planet ii. 26 Stephen Coonts bibliography

    We just don’t know how often earth has been visited by extraterrestrials.

Research requirements

antedating 1939

Earliest cite

L. Sprague de Camp, in Astounding

Research History
Edward Bornstein submitted a 1954 cite from Robert Heinlein's "Star Lummox".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1951 cite from Mack Reynolds' "The Case of the Little Green Men".
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a reprint of Fredric Brown's "Honeymoon in Hell"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1950 first magazine appearance.
Mike Christie submitted a 1949 cite from L. Sprague de Camp's "The Animal-Cracker Plot".
Mike Christie submitted a 1942 cite from Martin Pearson's "The Embassy".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2014 cite from Stephen Coonts.
Leah Zeldes submitted a 1939 cite from L. Sprague de Camp.

Earliest cite in the OED: 1963.

Last modified 2021-03-10 19:16:26
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.