Full record for force field n.

Definition a field of force that acts as an invisible barrier.
OED requirements antedating 1931
Earliest cite E.E. Smith, Spacehounds of IPC
Comment Mike Christie submitted a 1941 cite. Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1998 reprint of E.E. Smith's 1939 "Gray Lensman". Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1939 cite from Jack Williamson's "After World's End".

Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1932 cite for the form "field of force". Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1931 cite from E.E. Smith's "Spacehounds of IPC". (Earliest cite in the OED: 1944.)

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for force field n.

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1931 Amazing Stories Sept. 544/2 He first called Mars, the home planet of Alcantro and Fedanzo, the foremost force-field experts of three planets; and was assured in no uncertain terms that those rulers of rays were ready and anxious to follow wherever Brandon and Westfall might lead.
1939 J. Williamson in Marvel Sci. Stories Feb. 59/1 The force-field is a billion miles in diameter‥. It acts to repulse or disintegrate all matter that approaches.
1941 I. Asimov in Astounding Sci. Fiction Oct. 56/2 ‘The ordinary force field,’ explained Birnam, ‘is a feeble rarefied zone of energy extending over a hundred miles or more outside the ship.’
1950 E. E. Smith Gray Lensman (1998) 112, I was reading in the ‘Transactions’ the other day that force-fields had been used in big units, and were more efficient.
1966 S.R. Delaney Empire Star (1977) 123 The forcefield was permeable, and he ducked through.
1967 P.K. Dick Counter-Clock World (1990) 205 There seemed to be no force-field, nothing modern, protecting the highly sensitive top levels of the structure.
1970 P. Anderson Tau Zero (1973) 85 The reason is, as you've been told, at high speeds we must have the force fields of one system or the other to shield us from interstellar gas.
1972 J. Blish Star Trek 5 1 It would take the most dedicated of men to confine himself behind a force field.
1977 Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact Aug. 107/1 The four groups in the corners plunged through the forcefield at the doorway and fell down into the battleroom.
1982 I. Asimov Foundation's Edge 3 Now it's a colossal mausoleum, but is there a force-field ramp in the place? A slideway? A gravitic lift?—No, just these steps.
1985 O. S. Card Ender's Game viii. 115 A second later he smashed into the forcefield of the enemy's door and rebounded with a crazy spin.
1986 D. Carey Dreadnought vi.128, I ignored the force field's threatening hum.
1988 P. Anderson Iron in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars (1989) xxii. 169 Ominously aglow, the molten mass dwarfed the spacecraft that toiled meters ahead of it; yet Sun Defier , harnessed by her own forcefield, was a plowhorse dragging it bit by bit from its former path‥
1990 F. Pohl World at End of Time (1993) 334 To land, their little ship had to slide through an opening that appeared magically in the atmosphere-holding, radiation-shielding forcefield that kept the people who lived on Moon Mary safe.
1992 L. Tuttle Lost Futures 221 She was aware of projecting a sort of invisible force-field to ward off the weird, the needy.
1994 L. A. Graf Firestorm xii. 111 Each fitted around the edges with the familiar metal collar of a forcefield generator.
1995 Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch Star Trek Voyager: Escape viii. 84 As he passed the two walls, a hot forcefield slapped his body.
1997 J. Vornholt Mind Meld i. 6 He could have plunged his hand into the water, which was held at bay by forcefields and air pressure.
1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity vi. 75 A powerful force field confined Seven to the spartan, simply furnished cell.
1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother's Keeper iii. ii. 25 We imprisoned Gary behind a forcefield while we cannibalized some of the station's hardware to fix the drive.
1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother's Keeper ii. ix. 146 There's a forcefield around it that's playing havoc with our sensors, sir.
2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora's Star v. 130 If we're up against weapons that you need to protect a star against, I don't think a couple of our force fields will be much use.