Full record for lightspeed n.

Definition the speed of light
OED requirements antedating 1912
Earliest cite anonymous, in Frederick (Maryland) Post , 'Measuring light speed'
Comment Imran Ghory submitted a cite from the introduction to a reprint of Ursula Le Guin's "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1994 first edition.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1972 cite from Alan Dean Foster's "The Tar-Aiym Krang".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1995 reprint of David Brin's 1980 "Sundiver".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1991 cite from Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon's "Generation Warriors".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1986 cite from C. J. Cherryh's "Chanur's Homecoming".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of Larry Niven's "Ringworld"; Treesong verified the cite in the 1970 first edition.
Mike Christie submitted a 1958 cite from Poul Anderson's "We Have Fed Our Sea."
Mike Christie submitted a 1949 cite from editorial material by John Campbell in Astounding.
Mike Christie submitted a 1944 cite from Hal Clement's "Trojan Fall".
Mike Christie submitted a 1941 cite from A.E. van Vogt's "Not The First". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1975 reprint of Robert H. Wilson's "Out Around Rigel"; Greg Weeks confirmed this in its 1931 first publication.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite for "light speed" from a 1983 reprint of Ross Rocklynne's "Into the Darkness", which Alistair Durie verified in its 1940 first publication.

"light speed" was added to the OED in June 2005

Last modified 15 August, 2009

Citations for lightspeed n.

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1931 R. H. Wilson Out Around Rigel in Astounding Stories Dec. 301/2 I'll stick at twenty-five times light speed and slow down after we get there by taking an orbit.
1932 J. W. Campbell Invaders from Infinite in Amazing Stories Q. Spring 148/1 The skilful hands at the controls were turning adjustments now, and that disc of flame seemed to leap toward him with a hundred light-speeds, growing to a disc as large as a dime in an instant, while the myriad points of the stars seemed to scatter like frightened chickens, fleeing from the growing sun, out of the screen.
1932 J. W. Campbell Invaders from Infinite in Amazing Stories Q. Spring 222/1 Again a tiny ship entered Thett's far-flung atmosphere, and slowed to less than a light speed, and sent its signal call ahead.
1940 ‘R. Rocklynne’ Into Darkness June 61/1 Far past in the gone ages of our race, we were pitiful, tiny blobs of energy which crept along at less than light speed.
1941 A. E. van Vogt Not First in Astounding Sci. Fiction Apr. 105/1 Just how far the madness would carry on, whether it would end at the point of light speed, only time would tell.
1944 ‘H. Clement’ Trojan Fall in Astounding Sci. Fiction June 58/1 She had the required two second-order converters, either capable of holding the ship, and six hundred tons of additional mass in the necessary condition for interstellar flight above light-speed.
1947 Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr. 107/1 If it goes 34 light speed in the same direction the planet is going, the ship is tearing along at 1 14 light speeds in relation to planet B.
1956 ‘M. Leinster’ Critical Difference in Astounding Sci. Fiction July 13/2 Colonized worlds are like isolated islands in an unimaginably vast ocean, and the ships that ply between them at thirty light-speeds seem merely to creep.
1964 U. K. Le Guin Semley's Necklace in T. Shippey Oxf. Bk. Sci. Fiction (1992) 322 Unreason darkens that gap of time bridged by our light-speed ships, and in the darkness uncertainty and disproportion grow like weeds.
1966 L. Niven in If Oct. 20/1, I might well put the‥hull to its toughest test yet: smashing it into a neutron star at half lightspeed.
1972 A. D. Foster Tar-Aiym Krang 108 Once they made the initial jump past lightspeed at changeover their rate of acceleration would go up tremendously.
1975 R. H. Wilson Out Around Rigel in Sci. Fiction of Thirties 15 It must be farther than they've figured. I'll stick at twenty-five times light speed, and slow down after we get there by taking an orbit.
1985 B. Hambly Ishmael i.25 They shouldn't even have been able to break lightspeed.
1986 ‘C. J. Cherryh’ Chanur's Homecoming 227 A lightspeed message proliferated through ship relays.
1986 ‘C. J. Cherryh’ Chanur's Homecoming 169 The whisper of a transmission arriving at lightspeed to some receptor could blow the station's vulnerable skin.
1990 C. Sheffield in Thrust Winter 18/2 How did I go from someone who read science fiction‥to someone who was as recently as three days ago churning out aliens as improbable as any you'll find in a day's lightspeed march?
1990 Thrust Winter 23/3 Stith has given us hyperspace where lightspeed is a tad over 22 miles per hour, and levels of reality where characters literally see themselves coming and going.
1991 Locus Sept. 15/3 If you can put up with some spilled soap and rocket fuel, you'll find The Summer Queen a pleasure to read, a parsec or so of narrative traversed at close to lightspeed—truly a trip!
1991 A. McCaffrey & E. Moon Generation Warriors 331 The more massive yacht, with its limited drive system, could not possibly outmaneuver a Fleet shuttle as long as it stayed below lightspeed.
1991 O. S. Card Xenocide ii. 10 Only the military could communicate with starships during near-lightspeed flight.
1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. vii. 44 At three-tenths lightspeed, Pham spent decades in coldsleep getting from star to star.
1993 G. Bear Moving Mars 106 The rest had to settle for sending their messages by lightspeed dataflow, and that put a natural wall between one-on-one conversations.
1993 M. Resnick Prophet 96 Not as good as the stuff they make in the Terrazane system, but it keeps better at light speeds.
1994 U. K. Le Guin Fisherman of Inland Sea Introd. 7 If we're going to a world a hundred light-years from here at near lightspeed, we spend according to our own perceptions, only a few minutes doing so and arrive only a few minutes older.
1995 D. Brin Sundiver (1995) 133 The maser beam was busy now. One retinal pattern after another flew at lightspeed to the computers at home.
1998 D. Brin Heaven's Reach 59 It still made Lark queasy to picture himself hurtling at multiples of lightspeed through an airless void.
2001 Analog Sept. 81/1 To conserve angular momentum, Newtonian gravity absolutely requires that the speed of gravity be infinite. I have seen it wrongly argued that, since the speed of light is so fast, if we just put a lightspeed delay into Newton's equations, we'd never notice the difference.
2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora's Star vii. 183 Once the ship accelerates to its flight velocity of decimal seven two lightspeed, its range is limited only by the amount of fuel it carries to power the force field generators, and indeed the lifetime of the generators themselves.