organlegger n.

a person who illegally removes organs from people or corpses and sells them to use for transplantation

Associated chiefly with Larry Niven.

[< organ + bootlegger]

  • 1967 L. Niven Jigsaw Man in H. Ellison Dangerous Visions 220 Larry Niven bibliography

    If the odds broke right, if the right people came down with the right diseases at the right time, the organlegger might save more lives than he had taken.

  • 1969 L. Niven in Galaxy Jan. 142/1 Larry Niven

    For instant replacement of your ruined digestive system, for a young healthy heart, for a whole liver when you'd ruined yours with alcoholβ€”you had to go to an organlegger.

  • 1987 R. Rucker Wetware in R. Rucker Live Robots (1994) 185 Rudy Rucker

    You blew a hole in her head and sold her corpse to the organleggers and used the money to come to the Moon.


Research requirements

antedating 1967

Research History
Brian Ameringen suggested and Mike Christie located a cite from a 1969 reprint of Larry Niven's "The Jigsaw Man"; Suzanne Saunders verified the cite in the original 1967 publication in "Dangerous Visions".

We suspect this is the first use, and would like to identify later usages by authors other than Niven.

Last modified 2020-12-22 18:04:03
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.