Full record for communicator n.

Definition a device for communicating with a spaceship or astronaut
OED requirements antedating 1934
Earliest cite E. E. Smith,'Skylark of Valeron'
Comment Fred Galvin submitted a 1997 cite from a reprint of Donald A. Wollheim's 1953 "Asteroid 745: Mauritia" (written as Martin Pearson).
Fred Galvin submitted a 1943 cite from A. E. van Vogt's "Concealment".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1946 cite from Arthur C. Clarke's "Rescue Party".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1950 reprint of E. E. Smith's 1937 "Galactic Patrol"; Mike Christie verified the original magazine appearance.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1961 cite from Fred Saberhagen's "Planeteer".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from William Morrison's "Free Land".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1957 reprint of Robert A. Heinlein's 1956 "Double Star".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Murray Leinster's "Skit-Tree Planet".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1960s Ace reprint of Neil R. Jones's "Space War". We would like to verify this in its original publication (Amazing Stories, July 1935)
Fred Galvin submitted cites from a 1984 reprint of E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Skylark of Valeron" (originally serialized in Astounding Stories, August 1934 to February 1935), and Mike Christie verified them in the originals

Note: this is listed here because the OED's definition specifies distinct uses relating to telegraphs and trains, but not for spacecraft, which is almost certainly more common now.

Last modified 10 December, 2009

Citations for communicator n.

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1934 Astounding Stories Aug. 29/2 ‘Observation Officer of the Z12Q, attention!’ snapped from the tight-beam headquarters communicator. ‘Cut off those spy rays and report yourself under arrest for treason!’
1934 Astounding Stories Aug. 17/1 The flying vessel had gone through the zone of feeble radiations which comprised the outer detector screen of the Fenachrone. But, though tenuous, that screen was highly efficient, and at its touch there burst into frenzied activity the communicator built by the captive to be actuated by that very impulse. It had been built during the long flight through space, and its builder had thought that its presence would be unnoticed and would remain unsuspected by the Terrestrials.
1938 E. E. Smith Galactic Patrol in Astounding Stories Sept. 26/1 Space's so full of static you couldn't drive a power beam through it, let alone a communicator.
1939 E. E. Smith in Astounding Sci.-Fiction Oct. 26/2 I never could see how you deep-space men can really understand what you're doing—either the frightful speeds at which you travel, the distance you cover, or the way your communicators work.
1943 A. E. van Vogt Concealment in Astounding Sci.-Fiction Sept. 89/1 Decisively, she clicked off the intership communicator, made an adjustment and stepped through a transmitter into the receiving room half a mile distant.
1946 A. C. Clarke Rescue Party in Astounding Sci. Fiction May 53/2 They had no time to ask any further questions before Alveron himself began to speak through their communicators.
1947 ‘M. Leinster’ Skit-Tree Planet in Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr. 42/1 He grinned at the profanity that came out of the communicator-speaker. Then—back at the irreverently nicknamed Galloping Cow which was the base ship of the Extra-Solarian Research Institute expedition to this star-cluster—McRae cut off.
1948 A. E. van Vogt Monster in T. Shippey Oxf. Bk. Sci. Fiction (1992) 155 They have now adapted our universal speech machine, so that anyone who wishes to need only speak into his communicator, and so will have his words translated into the language of the revived person.
1956 R. A. Heinlein Double Star in Astounding Sci. Fiction Feb. ii. 29/1 Dak was busy most of the time at the ship's communicator, apparently talking on a very tight beam for his hands constantly nursed the directional control like a gunner laying a gun under difficulties.
1964 G. Roddenberry Cage 29 June in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. iv. 60 Aboard the Enterprise , all controls on the transporter have gone dead. Their scanners, communicators, all contact with the planet has been lost.
1967 N.R. Jones Space War in Space War 78 The communicators are not attuned to our own space craft—only to the ships of the Mumes.
1980 D. Brin Sundiver iv.xii. 131 By the elevators Kepler spoke briefly into a wall communicator.
1985 B. Hambly Ishmael i.19 After a final, cautious communicator scan of the base, he returned to the ship himself.
1986 D. Carey Dreadnought i.11, I felt the bulge of a communicator at my hip.
1989 D. Dvorkin & D. Dvorkin Star Trek: Next Generation: Captains' Honor x. 179 He yawned‥just as his tricorder began beeping madly. Riker glanced at the tricorder's display screen, then quickly slapped his communicator insignia.
1996 D. A. Wollheim Asteroid 745: Mauritia in Random House Bk. Sci. Fiction Stories 42 Yes, the spacelock is open, you dunderhead! ‥Come in, come in, so I can report you! Did you break your communicator? You'll pay for it!
1998 W. Shatner et al. Spectre i. 16 And he doesn't got a replicator‥No tricorder. No communicator.