space cadet n.

a trainee spaceman or spacewoman

  • 1943 A. L. Zagat Sunward Flight in Super Science Stories Feb. 98/1 page image Arthur Leo Zagat bibliography

    That hatch may open again, however, at your word, to return you to Earth. I rest it on your honor as space cadets that if it should, what I say to you now will remain within the hull of the Aldebaran.

  • 1948 Thrilling Wonder Stories June 125/1 page image

    [Editorial blurb for ‘Mr. Zytzyz Goes to Mars’, by Noel Loomis:] Mr. Zytztz, however, is one of several score of plant men, the only form of life discovered on Mars when the first expedition gets there. He is befriended by a young Space Cadet, Healey, and the attachment between these two utterly different forms of life with utterly different origins, becomes ultimately one of the epics of early space travel.

  • 1948 R. A. Heinlein (title) Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Space Cadet.

  • 1956 Space Academy in Authentic Science Fiction Jan. 49/1 page image

    Above all, space cadets must be physically fit. A sick man, or even a weak man, might crack up under the rigors of space flight.

  • 1980 F. G. MacIntyre For Cheddar or Worse in Asimov’s Science Fiction Jan. 98 page image F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre bibliography

    The hatchway hissed open and all the Junior Space Cadets stopped throwing zero-gravity spitballs at each other.

  • 2002 D. Danvers Watch xvi. 265

    He’s not there anymore. He’s always someplace else. I mean, he’s always been a space cadet, but he'd have his moments, you know? He’d let me in. He paid attention.

  • 2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora’s Star v. 122 Peter F. Hamilton

    There’s no one else left, Captain Kime. You’re the last space cadet left in the galaxy. We need you.

Research requirements

antedating 1943

Earliest cite

A. L. Zagat

Research History
Dan Tilque and Larry Headlund pointed out that Heinlein's "Space Cadet" was published in 1948. Rick Hauptmann provided a cite from the title of the first edition.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1948 cite from an editorial blurb in Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1948.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1943 cite from Arthur Leo Zagat in Super Science Stories.

The earliest cite in OED2 had been from 1952.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.