gate n.

a matter transmission device, esp. a portal or device by means of which something may be (instantaneously) transported to another point in space or time, or into another dimension or alternate universe; cf. slightly earlier gateway n.



  • 1931 J. Williamson Through the Purple Cloud in Wonder Stories May 1408/1 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    The purple circle that came in front of the plane looked just like that… We have seen the gate to our world opened again—I am sure of it.

  • 1933 H. P. Lovecraft Dreams in the Witch House in Weird Tales July 102/1 page image H. P. Lovecraft bibliography

    The hidden cults to which these witches belonged often guarded and handed down surprising secrets from elder, forgotten eons; and it was by no means impossible that Keziah had actually mastered the art of passing through dimensional gates.

  • 1948 J. Blish Against the Stone Beasts in Planet Stories Fall 77/2 page image James Blish bibliography

    I discovered in my time a sort of gateway to your time, and to seventeen other nearly synchronous moments, set up by a scientist unknown to me. Each of the gates seems to open upon one single specific instant. For instance: before I fell into the one which brought me here, I saw a figure I’m sure was yours. And it was motionless above the city, all the time that I was watching it.

  • 1955 R. A. Heinlein Tunnel in Sky 14 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Ron did not glance at the statue; he looked at the gates. It was late afternoon and heavily overcast at east coast North America, but gate one was open to some planetary spot having glaring noonday sun; Rod could catch glimpses through it of men dressed in shorts and sun hats and nothing else. Gate number two had a pressure lock rigged over it; it carried a big skull & crossbones sign and the symbol for chlorine.

  • 1955 R. A. Heinlein Tunnel in Sky 19 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    It was extremely expensive in terms of uranium to keep an interstellar gate open and the people in this wagon train could expect to be out of commercial touch with Earth until such a time as they had developed surpluses valuable enough in trade to warrant reopening the gate at regular intervals.

  • 1966 P. J. Farmer Gates of Creation (1975) 9 Philip José Farmer bibliography

    Then he would have to find the gate that would give entrance to the pocket universe.

  • 1967 R. Silverberg Gate of Worlds 243 Robert Silverberg bibliography

    Meanwhile I use old Quequex' useful notion of a Gate of Worlds. With eyes closed I stand at that Gate, seeing past the golden radiance into other worlds of maybe. I see a world in which Takinaktu and I did not quarrel at the end, but sailed to Africa together.

  • 1968 A. C. Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey 222 Arthur C. Clarke bibliography

    The Star Gate opened. The Star Gate closed. In a moment of time, too short to be measured, Space turned and twisted upon itself.

  • 1976 J. Williamson The Dark Destroyer in Amazing Science Fiction Jan. 6/1 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    Passage through a major space gate was only a shock of shifting gravities and a wink of suspended sensation, but the one-way, one-person terminal on the Earth probe hadn’t been engineered for comfort.

  • 1982 J. T. Sapienza in Dragon Magazine Aug. 70/3

    The cultural setup in FW postulates a system of gates from world to world, and an elite body of specialists that maintains them, the Imperial Corps of Engineers.

  • 1983 J. Varley Millennium ii. 17 John Varley bibliography

    Since you are Chief of Snatch Team Operations, someone at the Gate had the foolish notion you could be of help straightening it out.

  • 1989 V. Heinlein Editor’s Notes in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave 73 bibliography

    The class in ‘Advanced Survival’ is taking their final exam, but Rod and his class fail to return to earth, as the ‘gate’ through which they went for the test failed to work.

  • 1995 A. Thomson Color of Distance (1999) xxxi. 453 Amy Thomson bibliography

    There’s not much to do up here except keep the ship ticking over until the supply ship comes through the gate. We're not expecting them for another month and a half.

  • 2006 N. Asher Polity Agent Prol. 14 Neal Asher bibliography

    Shutting down such a link resulted in all the absorbed energy exploding from one gate…in the form of a blast wave of subatomic particles forced from the quantum foam.

  • 2019 Y. H. Lee Dragon Pearl viii. 71 Yoon Ha Lee bibliography

    Even steaders like me knew the basics of space travel. In order to cross vast distances, you had to use a special stardrive to punch your way through a local Gate. Each Gate only connected to a handful of nearby ones, so voyages could involve a lot of hopping.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Jack Williamson's 'Through the Purple Cloud'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1973 cite from Heinlein's "Tunnel in the Sky" and Andrew Dalke verified it in the 1955 first edition. Andrew Dalke submitted two further 1955 cites from the same book.
Cory Panshin submitted a cite from a reprint of Jack Williamson's "Through the Purple Cloud"; Rick Hauptmann verified the cite in the 1931 original appearance.
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1967 cite from Robert Silverberg's "The Gate of Worlds".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a cite from a reprint of C.J. Cherryh's "Gate of Ivrel"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1976 first edition.
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1976 cite from Jack Williamson's "The Dark Destroyer".
Enoch Forrester submitted a 1982 cite from John Sapienza in Dragon Magazine.
Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Philip Jose Farmer's "The Gates of Creation".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1970 reprint of H.P. Lovecraft's 1933 "Dreams in the Witch House"; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the original appearance in Weird Tales.

Last modified 2022-06-14 14:09:51
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.