Full record for space cadet n.

Definition a trainee spaceman
OED requirements antedating 1948
Earliest cite R. Heinlein 'Space Cadet'
Comment Dan Tilque and Larry Headlund pointed out that Heinlein's "Space Cadet" was published in 1948. Rick Hauptmann provided a cite from the title of the first edition. Fred Galvin submitted a 1948 cite from an editorial blurb in Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1948. Earliest cite in the OED had been from 1952.
Last modified 30 July, 2019

Citations for space cadet n.

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1948 Thrilling Wonder Stories June 125/1 Mr. Zytztz, however, is one of several score of plant men, the only form of life discovered on Mars when the first expedition gets there. He is befriended by a young Space Cadet, Healey, and the attachment between these two utterly different forms of life with utterly different origins, becomes ultimately one of the epics of early space travel.
1948 R. A. Heinlein Space Cadet (title) Space Cadet.
2002 D. Danvers Watch xvi. 265 He's not there anymore. He's always someplace else. I mean, he's always been a space cadet, but he'd have his moments, you know? He'd let me in. He paid attention.
2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora's Star v. 122 There's no one else left, Captain Kime. You're the last space cadet left in the galaxy. We need you.