Full record for star-ship n.

Definition a spaceship capable of interstellar travel
OED requirements antedating 1926
Earliest cite Raymond Quiex, "The War in Space"
Comment John Eggeling submitted a 1926 cite from the magazine serialization of Raymond Quiex's "The War in Space"

Fred Galvin found a number of references to star-ships in an online edition of John Ballou Newbrough's "Oahspe, A Kosmon Bible in the Words of Jehovih and his Angel Ambassadors", first published in 1882. However, the word is not used in quite the SF sense, as the ships referred to in the book appear to travel in spiritual realms between Heaven and Earth...

We would still like to see any cites for the SF sense from before 1926.

Last modified 14 May, 2009

Citations for star-ship n.

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1926 R. Quiex War in Space in Boys' Mag. 16 Oct. 30/1 Before they quarrelled, the two scientists invented a wonderful projectile, capable of travelling through the millions of miles of ether that separated Ikon and the world, swearing a solemn vow that neither would use it except in the interests of the earthmen. But crazy, planning diabolical schemes of world rulership, Swarfsmidt travelled, aboard his starship, to Ikon, where he obtained supreme power.
1961 F. Leiber Big Time (1969) 73 A lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific and a starship between galaxies are not in it for loneliness.
1967 D. C. Fontana Memo 8 Aug. in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) ii. i. 163 We have, in the course of a season and a half, established that Star Fleet includes 12 ships of the starship class.
1972 M. Bradley Darkover Landfall xi. 106 But he hadn't been prepared to be cut off from the mainstream of Earth—no starships, no contact or communication with the rest of the Galaxy, perhaps for generations, perhaps forever.
1977 Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact Aug. 118/1 On his first day Ender Wiggin was taught about the ansible and what it meant to warfare. It meant that even though the starships of today's battles were launched a hundred years ago, the commanders of the starships were men of today, who used the ansible to send messages to the computers and the few men on each ship. The ansible sent words as they were spoken, orders as they were made. Battleplans as they were fought. Light was a pedestrian.
1979 O. Davies in O. Davis Omni Bk. of Space 83 How can anyone sleep‥knowing that before noon tomorrow‥our first starship will be on it way?
1980 D. Brin Sundiver i.ii. 17 It had to be a starship!
1983 J. Varley Millennium vi. 95 Right next to the pride of Cunard is a starship from the twenty-eight century.
1983 M. Z. Bradley Thendara House (1991) i. 15 You know, and I knew before I had been here a tenday, that Russ Montray is no more fit to be Legate‥than I am to pilot a starship!
1985 R. Rucker & B. Sterling Storming Cosmos in B. Sterling Globalhead (1994) 26 It might have been the accidental explosion of a nuclear starship drive.
1985 S. Sucharitkul Alien Swordmaster ii. vi. 39 The two enemy starships that were left had slowed their fire now.
1986 D. Carey Dreadnought i. 11, I was alone, alone on the bridge of a starship.
1987 D. Brin Uplift War 306 Sam Tenance was a starship pilot who stopped at Garth every five years or so, one of Megan's three spacer husbands.
1987 D. Brin Uplift War 306 Sam Tenance was a starship pilot who stopped at Garth every five years or so, one of Megan's three spacer husbands.
1988 C. J. Cherryh Cyteen 7 The starships went out like seeds from a pod.
1989 A. D. Foster Quozl v. 64 When the clouds parted on the ninth day there was nothing to indicate that an enormous starship lay entombed beneath thousand of tons of rock and earth.
1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor iv. 78 And if the worst happens? If the M'dok attack in force and manage to break past the starships to this planet?
1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor Prologue 8 Federation—constitution-class starship‥considerably smaller than our vessel, sir.
1990 I. Watson Flies of Memory i. 45 A country run by mysticism might launch Armageddon against an alien starship if they believed it held the Antichrist.
1991 M. Weiss King's Test i.iii. 22, I am essentially being forced to fight a land battle aboard a starship.
1991 O. S. Card Xenocide ii. 10 Jakt‥stood upright in the corridor—one of the few places on the starship where he could actually do that.
1992 A. Steele Labyrinth of Night 72 Although a starship has never been found, circumstantial evidence suggests that it was dismantled and that the Cooties did not leave our Solar System again.
1992 M. Okrand Klingon Dictionary 20 For example, 'ejDo means starship. The syllable'ej also occurs in 'ejyoStarfleet. There are, however, no known Klingon words'ej, Do, or yo' that have anything to do with Starfleet, starships, the Federation, or space vehicles of any kind.
1995 Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch Star Trek Voyager: Escape xxi. 207 Starship? They called these things starships. The word evoked night skies filled with stars, warm jungle air around him, and birds chirping in nearby trees. Some poetry, then, to these people.
1995 A. Thomson Color of Distance (1999) viii. 85 Radio and starships were beyond the scope of these aliens' lives.
1996 L. Shepard in Vermillion Nov. 4 There exist a few people capable of perceiving the minor changes that occur to a starship and its passengers once the ship has exceeded the speed of light. Gone supraluminal, as you say.
1996 W. Shatner Return xiii. 105 It is a D'deridex -class starship.
1999 C. Pellegrino & G. Zebrowski Star Trek Next Generation: Dyson Sphere i. 7 It was more than a thousand light years‥from her starship, the Darwin , to the Beta Niobe nova.
2001 Sci Fi June 13/2 Berman says the series will focus around a starship, then dropped the tantalizing hint that the series concept may require a title that doesn't include the words Star Trek.
2001 Sci. Fiction Chron. July 20/1 If Earth is one big starship, the news media constitute its intercom.
2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora's Star iii. 76 With Nigel's blessing, CST had started practical design work on the starship three days earlier.