Full record for sapient adj.

Definition of an alien, having intelligence of human level
OED requirements antedating 1962
Earliest cite H. B. Piper 'Naudsonce'
Comment Mike Christie submitted a 2003 cite from Larry Niven's "The Ones Who Stay Home". Michael Dolbear submitted a 1998 cite from David Weber's "More Than Honor". Michael Dolbear submitted a cite from a 1989 reprint of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Paul Edwin Zimmer's "The Survivors"; we would like to check the 1979 first edition. Douglas Winston submitted a 1983 cite from David Brin's "Startide Rising"; Mike Christie verified that the cite does not appear in the 1981 magazine version. Douglas Winston submitted a 1992 cite from Allen Steele's "Labyrinth of Night". Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 2000 reprint of Alan Dean Foster's 1999 "Phylogenesis". Douglas Winston submitted a 2000 cite from Poul Anderson's "Genesis". Ralf Brown located and Mike Christie submitted a 1968 cite from Robert Silverberg's "The Man in the Maze". Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of Larry Niven's 1970 "Ringworld". Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1962 cite from H.Beam Piper's "Naudsonce".
Last modified 31 July, 2019

Citations for sapient adj.

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1962 H. B. Piper Naudsonce in Analog Sci. Fact-Sci. Fiction Jan. 9/1 It was inhabited by a sapient humanoid race, and some of them were civilized enough to put it in Class V, and Colonial Office doctrine on Class V planets was rigid.
1968 R. Silverberg Man in Maze in If Apr. 15/2 Because the dragon wore protective clothing, and so was sapient? Sapient corpses were deliberately allowed to remain, Muller realized.
1970 L. Niven Ringworld (1976) 73 Speaker, no sapient being ever interrupts a defense mechanism.
1979 M. Z. Bradley & P. E. Zimmer Survivors (1989) 7 There were several hundred planets in the Unity–and nearly as many more outside it–bearing sapient life; and over a hundred of them must have been represented in the crowds below.
1982 S. Cooper Black Fire i. 36 Spock was unable to determine whether any sapient life forms existed on the planet.
1982 S. Cooper Black Fire ix.178 The cataclysmic events should have destroyed all sapient life on the planet.
1983 D. Brin Startide Rising 104 The chimp scientist grimaced. His lips curled back to display an array of large, yellowed, buck teeth. At the moment, in spite of the enlarged globe of his cranium, his outthrust jaw, and his opposable thumbs, he looked more like an angry ape than a sapient scientist.
1986 J.M. Dillard Demons i. 30 Vulcans dreamed, of curse–most sapient creatures do.
1992 A. Steele Labyrinth of Night 275 ‘Think!’ Kawakami demanded. ‘We were lured to this location by an edifice which was a copy of a human face, which in turn led us to structures which were copies of the ancient Egyptian pyramids. When we passed a rudimentary intelligence test?. a test designed to prove that we were not only a sapient species, but capable of innovation and creativity as well?. The pseudo-Cooties were awakened from their sleep.’
1998 D. Weber More Than Honor 351 As Medusa is inhabited by a sapient alien species, this embroiled the kingdom in questions of aboriginal rights and protection, and the increasing pressure of Havenite ‘merchants’ there for ‘legitimate trade with the natives’ (who have very little worth trading) further complicated an already complex situation.
1999 A. D. Foster Phylogenesis (2000) 263 The poet's eyes rose to fix the surviving biped in their multilenticular stare. ‘I don't mean that. I mean that two sapient beings are dead.’
2000 P. Anderson Genesis 161 Besides fellow humans he worked closely with sapient machines, and some of them got to be friends too, of an eerie kind.
2003 L. Niven Ones Who Stay Home in Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact Jan. 78/1 Most sapient species can't travel. They would need life support so extensive that they could not perceive the Universe beyond.