Full record for faster-than-light adj.

Definition that is traveling or can travel faster than light
OED requirements antedating 1940
Earliest cite D. D. Sharp, "The Lodestone Core"
Comment Mike Christie submitted a 1948 cite from Poul Anderson's "Genius".
Michael Dolbear submitted a 2002 cite for "faster than light" from David Weber's "War of Honor".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1977 reprint of Michael Kurland and Chester Anderson's "Ten Years to Doomsday".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1966 reprint of E.E. Smith's 1965 "Skylark DuQuesne".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from an undated reprint of John Brunner's 1967 "Born Under Mars".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from A. Bertram Chandler's "Catch the Star Winds".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from Save Van Arnam's "Starmind".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1991 cite from Dana Stabenow's "Second Star".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Murray Leinster's "The Manless Worlds"
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1997 reprint of C.M. Kornbluth's "Dead Center": Mike Christie verified it in its first publication (in Stirring Science Stories, February 1941, under the pseudonym 'S.D. Gottesman')
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from "The Lodestone Core", by D. D. Sharp
Last modified 31 July, 2019

Citations for faster-than-light adj.

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1934 Astounding Stories Aug. 20/1 An atomic explosion starting on the surface and propagating downward would hardly develop enough power to drive anything material much, if any, faster than light, and no explosion wave, however violent, can exceed that velocity.
1936 ‘C. Dane’ American Fairy Tales in Fortnightly Apr. 469 It describes supermen who can become invisible, can travel faster than light, who can take themselves and their entire ship's company on travels beyond our universe altogether, and after some sixty million years of adventures, arrive back the day before they started.
1936 J. W. Campbell Uncertainty in Amazing Stories Oct. 19/2 ‘No, no, you asteroid–that's not it. He went off faster than light itself!’‘Eh–what? Faster than light? That can't be done–’
1939 D. D. Sharp in Marvel Sci. Stories Feb. 84/2, I knew in my heart all those years that Moleri was there somewhere in the space before my eyes, faster than light, leaving no reflection for my scope to touch.
1939 Astounding Sci. Fiction July 68 (heading), ‘Go to the ant, thou sluggard!’mightn't have been such bad advice–if he went to the army ant for the secret of signaling faster than light!
1940 D.D. Sharp Lodestone Core in Astonishing Stories Aug. 84/1 It must be aluminum alloy and faster than light by three times at least.
1941 Astounding Sci. Fiction June 61/2 Got that old-style ether-cloud steering for hyper-space travel, though–you know–the one that builds etheric resistance on one bow or the other to turn the ship when she's traveling faster than light?
1947 ‘M. Leinster’ Manless Worlds in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 32/2 The journeying squadron–every ship wrapped in the utter unapproachability of faster-than-light travel–was oblivious to all that had occurred. Its separate ships came out of overdrive some forty million miles from the solitary planet Ades, lonelily circling its remote small sun.
1948 P. Anderson Genius in Astounding Sci. Fiction Dec. 25/1 They'll know the principles of the star drive in a few more generations, and invent a faster-than-light engine almost at once!
1952 C. Oliver First to Stars in W. F. Nolan Edge of Forever (1971) 247 The Viking was not, of course, a faster-than-light ship.
1952 R. A. Heinlein in Galaxy Mar. 19/2 Faster-than-light weapon promised.
1964 M. Kurland & C. Anderson Ten Years to Doomsday iv. 32 He described the development of transportation from the coach and four of baroque days to the faster-than-light spacecraft of the present.
1966 J. W. Campbell Ultimate Weapon 12 ‘No, no, you asteroid–that's not it. He went off faster than light itself!’‘Eh–what? Faster than light ? That can't be done.’
1966 L. Niven in If Oct. 17/2 Imagine light falling into a savagely steep gravitational well. It won't accelerate. Light can't move faster than light. But it can gain in energy, in frequency.
1966 E. E. Smith Skylark DuQuesne vi. 43 Whether or not a Tellus-type planet ordinarily becomes unfit to support human life before its sun goes nova is not surely known. Nor does it matter very much; for, long before either event occurs, the human race involved has developed a faster-than-light drive and has at its disposal dozens or hundreds of Earth-like planets upon which even subhuman life has not yet developed.
1967 J. Brunner Born Under Mars xiii. 96 Every suggestion that sprang to my mind was open to the charge that it wasn't a new concept but an elaboration of an old one, except the faster-than-light drive. And we'd dealt with that.
1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 191 The engines?run the Enterprise and drive it at faster-than-light speeds.
1969 D. van Arnam Starmind i. 7 Potential faster-than-light drives are a worse breed of myth than any other I know of.
1969 A. B. Chandler Catch Star Winds xii. 104 I'm no physicist, but I have a rough idea of the modus operandi of the various interstellar drives. And, so far, there's been no faster-than-light drive.
1969 M. Z. Bradley Brass Dragon (1980) viii. 149 Very likely their interstellar ships went faster than light.
1969 M. Z. Bradley Brass Dragon (1980) iii. 50 If they start from Earth, you can't turn on any faster-than-light drive inside the orbit of Saturn, or you'll crash the asteroids.
1969 D. Stabenow Second Star ix. 190 Archy had all that delicious information on our galactic neighbors in his data banks, and since every satellite tracking station on Terra had seen the Librarian's dramatic arrival and departure this time, it was a safe bet that the secret of a faster-than-light drive was included therein.
1970 L. Niven Ringworld 106 There wasn't even a theoretical basis for faster-than-light travel. We never did invent hyperdrive, if you'll recall. We'd never have discovered it by accident, either, because we'd never have thought to do our experiments out beyond the singularity.
1985 D. Brin Warm Space in D. Brin Otherness (1994) 267 Faster-than-light travel was not something anyone gave up on easily, especially a robot with a lifespan of five hundred years.
1991 O. S. Card Xenocide xi. 246 You can conceive of faster-than-light travel, and yet you can't imagine destroying the Lusitania Fleet?
1994 R. Silverberg Hot Sky at Midnight 190, I speak of our attempts, of which you have probably heard rumors, to develop a faster-than-light spaceship that will be capable of conducting human colonists to suitable planets outside the solar system.
2002 D. Weber War of Honor xxiii. 354 Impeller signatures were the only normal-space phenomenon which propagated at what was effectively faster than light speed.