skyhook n. 1

an imaginary device for attaching something to the sky


  • 1888 Barnsley Independent 28 Jan. 8/4

    When the thread is long enough it [sc. the gossamer spider] launches itself into the air at the end of its rope, which is not even attached to a ‘sky-hook’.

  • 1915 Aeroplane 10 Mar. 222

    The battery signaller sent a message: ‘Battery out of action for an hour, remain aloft awaiting orders.’ Back came the reply with remarkable promptitude: ‘Submitted; that this machine is not fitted with sky-hooks.’

  • a1920 L. Hart Dear Old School Days in D. Hart & R. Kimball Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart (1986) 8/2

    When the sky-hooks are connected, And the tent-keys lock the tents, Leery lessons we've neglected Are assigned by learned gents.

  • 1938 R. Bradbury Hollerbochen Comes Back: or Voyage of the Neuralgia in Mikros (#3) Nov. 1 page image Ray Bradbury bibliography

    Hurtling thru the stratosfere somewhere, a tiny piece of matter bobbed up & down just this side of the heaviside layer where the rockets turn to the right & take the airlane to Jupiter past the array of billboards hanging by skyhooks on the clouds.

  • 1964 J. Thompson Pop. 1280 (1990) xvi 142

    I told one fella that, no, I wasn’t going fishing, I was going to fasten on to a sky-hook and swing myself t' the other side of the river.

  • 1991 M. Helprin Soldier of Great War vi. 382

    The two pieces of paper in his pocket seemed to lift him up as if he were attached to a sky-hook.

Research requirements

any evidence 1888

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Death Between the Stars" in which the word is used to mean a "nested cradle on swinging pivots" that protects spaceship passengers during blastoff. This may be a separable meaning.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1938 cite from Ray Bradbury.

We would like cites for this or any other meaning of skyhook that is not one of the ones listed here.

OED Online found 1888 and 1915 examples of this sense; Simon Koppel found a version of the 1888 cite from several weeks earlier.

Last modified 2022-02-14 22:09:10
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.