antedates for 'alien' to mean "intelligent extraterrestrial creatures"

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Apr 10 20:01:39 UTC 2006

(The OED has this from 1953 in its noun use.)

Noun use:

The Weapon Makers A. E. van Vogt. Exciting story of a man who dared
pit himself against both the greatest powers of his universe and the
aliens of outer space. NY Times Display Ad, 3/2/52

Adjectival use:

In view of our sad inability even to unite mankind, it seems
extremely unlikely that man in his present state would succeed in
cooperating with alien races on other planets." Man's Trip to Other
Planets in Few Decades Predicted, LA Times, 10/11/48

Mr. Clement manages this admirably, altho his criminal is an alien
creature and his detective a similar creature inhabiting the body and
mind of a human boy. "A Detective Tale Built on Science Line," by
Fritz Leiber, Chicago Daily Tribune, 4/2/50

My guess is that it would be easy to find earlier cites in the pulps,
if only those were online.

Geoff Nunberg

The American Dialect Society -

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