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

Jeff Prucher jprucher at YAHOO.COM
Tue Apr 11 04:32:15 UTC 2006

> On Mon, 10 Apr 2006, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
> > 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

Quoth Fred Shapiro:

> The OED science fiction citation web site indicates that they have noun
> cites from 1820 and 1935, and adjectival cites back to 1926.

I have a 1934 cite for the noun from Philip Barshovsky's "One Prehistoric
Night" in the Nov. issue of Wonder Stories, which I haven't submitted to the
OED yet:
p. 697/1 Nearby, a group of intelligent aliens were cutting small growth and
testing them with many forms of apparatus.

The OED site also has a 1913 adjectival cite (which, like the 1820 Carlyle cite
is interesting but open to debate as to whether it's actually the modern SF
use) and another adj. cite from a reprint of A. Merritt's 1919 "The Moon Pool".

Jeff Prucher

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