Full record for mutant n.

Definition a human imagined as having arisen by genetic mutation, esp. one with freakish or grossly abnormal anatomy, abilities, etc.
OED requirements antedating 1938
Earliest cite Spencer Lane, 'Niedbalski's Mutant'
Comment Mike Christie found a 1943 cite from Fritz Leiber. Kevin Wald then found a reference to a May 1938 story called "Niedbalski's Mutant", by Spencer Lane, and Mike Christie then found more citations in that story. Sue Surova found a cite in a reprint of Edmond Hamilton's "He That Hath Wings"; the OED verified this in the July 1938 original in "Weird Tales".

Cory Panshin located a reference in John Campbell's editorial in the January 1938 Astounding. This usage is figurative, rather than direct, and we would still like other cites antedating the Hamilton or Lane stories above.

Earliest cite in OED2 was 1954 in the sf sense: updated June 2003 to 1938.

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for mutant n.

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1938 Astounding Sci. Fiction May And yet I have, even in age, one source of joy. Man no longer calls me the ‘strange mutant’. My card reads simply: ‘Niedbalski’—the name of the man I love.
1938 E. Hamilton He That Hath Wings in L. Brackett Best of Edmond Hamilton (1977) 202 Muller, of the University of Texas, has demonstrated that gene-patterns can be greatly altered by radiation, and that the offspring of parents so treated will differ greatly from their parents in bodily form. That accident produced an entirely new gene-pattern in the parents of this child, one which developed their child into a winged human. He's what biologists technically call a mutant.
1938 Astounding Sci. Fiction May I am what you have made me—the ultimate of that one sensitive mutant.