mutation n.

an organism (occ. a human) that has arisen by genetic mutation; mutant n.

The 1931 Hamilton quote presumably refers to the change, rather than the organism; the other examples of mutation in that story all clearly refer to the change.

  • [ 1931 E. Hamilton Man Who Evolved in Wonder Stories Apr. 1269/2 page image Edmond Hamilton

    For it is the cosmic rays, beating upon every living organism on earth, that cause the profound changes in the structure of those organisms which we call mutations. ]

  • 1941 R. A. Heinlein Universe in Astounding Science-Fiction May 16/2 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    During that period our present wise rule of inspecting each infant for the mark of sin and returning to the Converter any who are found to be mutations was not in force.

  • 1946 A. E. van Vogt Hand of the Gods in Astounding Science-Fiction Dec. 144/1 page image A. E. van Vogt bibliography

    It would be impossible for a despised mutation ever to become Lord Leader.

  • 1950 R. A. Heinlein Farmer in Sky (1975) ix. 100 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    He said that ‘M-G’ meant ‘mutation-Ganymede’ and the other meant ‘normal terrestrial.’

  • 1968 C. Wilber & G.L. Coon Space Seed in J. Blish Star Trek 2 (1968) 113

    The sports and monsters…almost surely were spontaneous mutations erupting from all the ambient radioactivity.

  • 1972 J. Blish Star Trek 5 41 James Blish

    Unaccountable rarities do occur. A mutation?

  • 1989 O. Butler Imago (1991) ii. v. 112 Octavia E. Butler

    It was too hot to eat, but I brushed it off and broke it open. It was well cooked, steaming hot, spicy, and sweet. It had not existed before the Humans had their war. Lilith said it was one of the few good-tasting mutations she had eaten.


Research requirements

antedating 1941

Earliest cite

Robert Heinlein

Research History
OED update June 2003: SF sense added with earliest cite of 1941 (Heinlein).

Last modified 2020-12-20 18:37:51
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.