overdrive n.

= hyperdrive n.

Now rare.

In 1944 quot., apparently referring to a type of sub-light engine.



  • [1944 R. Abernathy Saboteur of Space in Planet Stories Spring 59/2 page image Robert Abernathy bibliography

    When the doctor had escaped gratefully from the Shahrazad’s topsy-turvy gravity, Mury gave power to the overdrive, sent the ship swinging back into a course for the point of intersection with the flight of the power projectile.]

  • 1945 ‘M. Leinster’ First Contact in Astounding Science Fiction May 9/2 Murray Leinster bibliography

    It was a light-year-and-a-half from the edge of the nebula to the neighborhood of the double star which was its heart. That was the problem. A nebula is a gas. It is so thin that a comet’s tail is solid by comparison, but a ship traveling on overdrive—above the speed of light—does not want to hit even a merely hard vacuum.

  • 1949 W. Kubilius Handful of Stars in Super Science Stories Jan. 83/2 page image Walter Kubilius

    Apparently…traveling faster than light involves dislocation in space-time. If I'm right, we have the explanation of the odd power-thrust relationships we found in using the overdrive.

  • 1951 ‘C. Sprague’ Milords Methuselah in Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr. 95/1 page image Sam Merwin, Jr. bibliography

    Mike was then a hot young pilot-engineer, one of the first half dozen space pilots to master the intricacies of the rediscovered overdrive that enabled men once more to visit the stars through travel faster than light in the dead greyness of subspace.

  • 1953 A. Porges Ruum in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Nov. 25 page image Arthur Porges bibliography

    The cruiser Ilkor had just gone into her interstellar overdrive beyond the orbit of Pluto.

  • 1960 J. Sharkey Crispin Affair in Fantastic July 96/2 page image Jack Sharkey bibliography

    We were about to go into overdrive, which had been patiently explained to me before boarding by Lora, who seemed to know more about electronics than any physics professor I ever met at Harvard, and I still didn’t understand it. It had something to do with Einstein’s theory…about faster-than-light travel.

  • 1967 ‘Pink Floyd’ (title of song)

    Interstellar overdrive.

  • 2002 W. Barton Engine of Desire in Asimov’s Science Fiction 104 page image William Barton bibliography

    We got to buy overdrive technology from the Spinfellows' Firefox client civilization, before we found out who their masters were.

Research requirements

antedating 1945

Earliest cite

'M. Leinster' 'First Contact'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1945 cite from Murray Leinster's "First Contact".

OED entry revised in December 2004, with an earliest cite of 1945 (was 1953)

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