Full record for bug-eyed monster n.

Definition an extra-terrestrial monster with bulging eyes
OED requirements antedating 1939
Earliest cite Martin Alger in a letter to Thrilling Wonder Stories
Comment Mike Christie found a cite in the 1952 magazine version of James Blish's "Surface Tension". Brian Ameringen checked the 1942 version of this story, "Sunken Universe", and the cite does not appear there.

According to an entry in Richard Eney's Fancyclopedia II, submitted by Leah Zeldes, this was coined in the January 1941 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories by Martin Alger. Frank Robinson located this cite and verified it. Jeff Prucher subsequently located a 1939 letter by Martin Alger that also uses the term. David Tate located and Mike Christie confirmed a 1949 cite from Fredric Brown's "All Good Bems".

(Earliest cite in the OED is 1953.)

Last modified 31 July, 2019

Citations for bug-eyed monster n.

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1939 G. M. Aylesworth in Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct. 122/1 I like bug-eyed monstrosities on my stf. mags.; the farther out their orbs bulge, the better I like it!
1939 M. Alger in Thrilling Wonder Stories Aug. 121/2 Speaking of The SPWSSTFM, the cover inspired me to organize the SFTPOBEMOTCOSFP. (Society For The Prevention Of Bug-Eyed Monsters On The Covers Of Science-Fiction Publications.) Yours for complete novels and more civilized covers.
1949 F. Brown in Thrilling Wonder Stories Apr. 125/2 B-bems??. You mean you are b-bug-eyed monsters? That's what Elmo means by Bems, but you aren't.
1952 J. Blish in Galaxy Sci. Fiction Aug. 35/2 First of all, there was the bug-eyed monster. The thing was green and had two snapping claws, either one of which could have broken the ship in two like a spirogyra straw.
1969 M. Z. Bradley Brass Dragon (1980) vii. 128 Evidently the many stories of flying saucers had some foundation in fact after all! But I wasn't going to believe in Bug-Eyed Monsters!
1989 A. D. Foster Quozl xiii. 159 Turns-theme-Over is no bug-eyed monster.
1994 Sci. Fiction Age July 74/1 Lehr's use of bright colors and conventional SF symbols such as bug-eyed monsters, cityscapes, rocket ships.