avian adj.

(of an alien) bird-like


  • 1931 W. O. Stapledon Last & First Men 302 Olaf Stapledon bibliography

    The flightless yet still half avian race that now possessed the planet settled down to construct a society based on industry and science. After many vicissitudes of fortune and of aim, they produced a new human species, the Eighth Men. These long-headed and substantial folk were designed to be strictly pedestrian, physically and mentally.

  • 1948 ‘W. Tenn’ Ionian Cycle in Thrilling Wonder Stories Aug. 112/1 William Tenn bibliography

    Imagine! Another civilization in embryo—avian this time. An avian culture would hardly build cities. But this is a culture where the glider comes before the wheel.

  • 1961 P. Anderson Day After Doomsday in Galaxy Magazine Dec. 13/2 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Yeh, he thought, they’re for sure prettier than humans, but you have to see them to realize it. About five feet tall, the short avian body was balanced on two stout yellow legs. The arms, thinner and weaker than humans, ended in hands whose three fingers, four-jointed and mutually opposed, were surprisingly dextrous. The head, atop a long thick neck, was large and round, with a hooked beak. A throat pouch produced a whole orchestra of sounds, even labials. But all you could really convey in words was the intense blueness of the feathers, the white plumage of tail and crest.

  • 1965 P. Anderson Trader Team in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact July 38/1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Torches guttering in sconces threw an uneasy light—dim and red to Adzel, bright to a native—on sleazy garments, avian faces, unwinking eyes.

  • 1965 P. Anderson Trader Team in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Aug. 128/1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    The monarch inclined his avian head.

  • 1969 ‘J. Tiptree, Jr.’ in Galaxy Magazine Jan. 64/1 James Tiptree, Jr.

    If you wish to enter your animals in the Non-Flying Avian classes, they must not fly at all.

  • 1979 D. Drake Hammer’s Slammers (1985) 59 David Drake bibliography

    Their sharp-edged faces, scale-dusted but more avian than reptile, stared enraptured at one of their number who hung in the air.

  • 1989 A. C. Clarke & G. Lee Rama II 315

    When she yelled into the depths of the avian lair the second time, there was an immediate response.

  • 1990 T. Johnson Archimedes Effect in B. Fawcett Far Stars War 38 Todd Johnson bibliography

    Risky Lady was a standard aerospace plane which still had…the ever-present biolink the avian aliens had given him.

  • 1990 A. McCaffrey & J. L. Nye Death of Sleep (1992) 353 Anne McCaffrey Jody Lynn Nye bibliography

    We've seen avian nests but they're always near water, preferably large lakes or rivers.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother’s Keeper iii. ix. 116 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    Is nacelles extended like the wings of some monstrous avian predator.

  • 1999 D. Duane Storm at Eldala 48 Diane Duane

    Long, graceful, translucent creatures, gossamer-thin, like ribbons of shimmering air, they excited some brief interest. Though avian, they were very unlike other avian species so far discovered. They spent their whole lives in the air, subsisting on airborne algae and plankton native to the high mists of the Rivendale mountain chains.

  • 2013 M. A. Mohanraj Stars Change 10 Mary Anne Mohanraj bibliography

    But he knew where to go. To the eastern edge of campus, near the Warren, where the monsters lived. Avian, saurian, gasbags, methane breathers—all the bizarre variations the universe had offered up, once humans escaped the confines of Old Earth. All the aliens that could survive on a planet’s surface, in human-comfortable temperatures, at any rate.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Olaf Stapledon, "Last and First Men"

Research History
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1990 reprint of Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee's 1989 "Rama II"; Mike Christie verified the cite in a 1989 edition.
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1992 reprint of Anne McCaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye's 1990 "The Death of Sleep".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Poul Anderson's "Trader Team"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1965 first magazine appearance.
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1985 reprint of David Drake's 1979 "Hammer's Slammers".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1999 cite from Diane Duane's "Storm at Eldala".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1990 cite from Todd Johnson's "The Archimedes Effect".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1970 reprint of Poul Anderson's "After Doomsday". Fred Galvin verified this in the 1961 serialization in Galaxy.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1948 cite from William Tenn's "The Ionian Cycle".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1942 cite from Henry Kuttner's "The Crystal Circe"
Fred Galvin submitted a 1931 cite from W. Olaf Stapledon's "Last and First Men": we would like to verify this in its 1930 first edition.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2013 cite from M. A. Mohanraj.

Last modified 2021-03-25 20:15:11
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.