Full record for overmind n.

Definition a single, non-material consciousness composed of the consciousnesses of a large number of beings
OED requirements antedating 1949
Earliest cite James H. Schmitz, 'Agent of Vega'
Comment Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1999 reprint of Robert J. Sawyer's 1998 "Factoring Humanity".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from James H. Schmitz's 1949 "Agent of Vega".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1953 cite from Arthur C. CLarke's "Childhood's End"

Listed in Brave New Words with an earliest date of 1953

Last modified 24 June, 2009

Citations for overmind n.

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1949 J.H. Schmitz Agent of Vega in Astounding Sci. Fiction July 20/1 Theakaba condition was a disconcerting defensive trick which had beenplayed on him on occasion by members of other telepathic races. Thefacutly [sic] was common to most of them; completely involuntary, andaffected the pursuer more or less as if he had been closing in on aglow of mental light and suddenly saw that light vanish without atrace.The Departmental Lab's theory was that under the stress of a psychic attack which was about to overwhelm the individual telepath, a kind of racial Overmind took over automatically and conducted its member-mind's escape from the emergency, if that was at all possible, with complete mechanical efficiency before restoring it to awareness of itself. It was only a theory since the Overmind, if it existed, left no slightest traces of its work—except the brief void of one of the very few forms of complete and irreparable amnesia known. For some reason, as mysterious as the rest of it, the Overmind never intervened if the threatened telepath had been physically located by the pursuer.
1953 A.C. Clarke Childhood's End 202 There lay the Overmind, whatever it might be, bearing the same relation to man as man bore to the amoeba. Potentially infinite, beyond mortality, how long had it been absorbing race after race as it spread across the stars?
1979 J. Varley Titan (1987) 286 The satellite brain that held sway over the territory was a tool of the overmind, and had not as yet developed a personality of his own.
1987 T. Pratchett Equal Rites (1990) 27 The overmind of the forest made impromptu searching as hard as listening for a waterfall in a thunderstorm.
1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 345 We're guided, at first by the survivors of the Invasion who got us through the early years, and now by the overmind they created.
1999 R. J. Sawyer Factoring Humanity xxxiii. 278 ‘To build the machine.’ ‘What machine?’ She opened her mouth slightly, then exhaled, feeling her cheeks puff out as she did so. ‘A machine to access‥the overmind.’ Kyle tilted his head, stunned. ‘The aliens‥that was what they were trying to tell us. Individuality is an illusion; we're all part of a greater whole.’