hyperdrive n.

a spaceship drive that enables travel faster than the speed of light; (also) the state of such travel; cf. hyperspace n.



  • 1946 Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 8 page image

    Once again Kim takes off in the Starshine with its hyper-drive to do battle in defense of the Second Galaxy.

  • 1947 I. Asimov Little Lost Robot in Astounding Science-Fiction Mar. 112/1 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    Since the first imperfect Hyper Drive was constructed, the government has spared no effort here.

  • 1949 Startling Stories Jan. 10 page image

    Construction is still going on and, through a worker’s accident, the ship, still incomplete and utterly unarmed, is sent flashing into the ‘other’ space, a universe of complete darkness, in which its hyper-drive operates.

  • 1949 P. Anderson & J. Gergen Entity in Astounding Science Fiction June 62/1 page image Poul Anderson John Gergen bibliography

    If they had had the hyperdrive that far back, they would have visited the Sol sector by now.

  • 1950 T. Sturgeon Stars are the Styx in Galaxy Oct. 79/2 page image Theodore Sturgeon bibliography

    By the time you’re clear of Curbstone’s gravitic field and slip into hyper-drive, the new ship’ll be waiting for passengers.

  • 1964 G. Roddenberry The Cage 29 June in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. iv. 65 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    A shot of a space vessel picking up speed into hyperdrive.

  • 1969 M. Z. Bradley Brass Dragon (1980) iii. 49 Marion Zimmer Bradley bibliography

    A spaceship traveling at half the speed of light on planetary drive, and three times the speed of light on hyperdrive, expected to call in at three widely separated stars—and I can’t figure out how long they'd be in space each way.

  • 1970 L. Niven Ringworld 106 Larry Niven

    There wasn’t even a theoretical basis for faster-than-light travel. We never did invent hyperdrive, if you'll recall. We'd never have discovered it by accident, either, because we'd never have thought to do our experiments out beyond the singularity.

  • 1971 P. Anderson A Little Knowledge in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Aug. 108/2 Poul Anderson bibliography

    After all, with the hyperdrive opening endless wonders to them, spacefarers tended to choose the most obviously glamorous.

  • 1988 ‘C. J. Cherryh’ Cyteen 69 C. J. Cherryh

    He was scared into hyperdrive.

  • 1990 J. Pournelle & S. M. Stirling Asteroid Queen in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars III (1992) x. 166 S. M. Stirling Jerry Pournelle

    The commander of the hyperdrive warship Outsider’s Gift sat back and relaxed for the first time in weeks as his craft broke through into normal space.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 332 John Varley bibliography

    So I slammed the Blackbird into hyperdrive and listened to the banshee wail as the old ship shuddered and leaped into the fourth dimension.

  • 1994 S. M. Baxter Ring (1996) v. 65 Stephen Baxter bibliography

    However the hyperdrive works, it must be based on manipulating the multidimensionality of space.

  • 1997 R. Hatch & C. Golden Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon xix. 237 Richard Hatch Christopher Golden bibliography

    Both ships slipped out of reality using the Quantum Shift Effect, even as they rocketed into hyperdrive.

  • 2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora’s Star v. 126 Peter F. Hamilton bibliography

    Sixty-three per cent of the components were fabricated on Augusta, including the wormhole generator mechanism which would act as the hyperdrive.

Research requirements

antedating 1946

Earliest cite

Startling Stories

Research History
Bill Seabrook located and Mike Christie confirmed a 1950 cite from Theodore Sturgeon's "The Stars Are The Styx".
Mike Christie submitted a 1949 cite from Poul Anderson and John Gergen's "Entity".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite for "hyper-drive" from an editorial blurb in the January 1949 Startling Stories for the next issue's publication of Murray Leinster's "The Black Galaxy".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a cite for "hyper-drive" from an editorial blurb in the December 1946 Thrilling Wonder Stories for the next issue's publication of Murray Leinster's "The Manless Worlds".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1948 cite from Isaac Asimov's "Little Lost Robot".

Earliest cite in the OED: 1955.

Last modified 2021-01-26 00:33:16
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.