Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Goes Live

Jesse Sheidlower has unveiled the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction “a comprehensive quotation-based dictionary of the language of science fiction.”

The HD/SF traces the history of the words it covers, with illustrative quotations showing how and when the word was used. In some cases, the quotations also capture the fannish humor of the times. Consider “fugghead” (click for larger image) —

The HD/SF is an offshoot of a project begun by the Oxford English Dictionary and is being run with OED approval, though it is no longer formally affiliated with it. The site is edited by Jesse Sheidlower. (The OED’s project previously yielded the 2008 Hugo-winner Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction edited by Jeff Prucher.)

Sheidlower is an adjunct assistant professor in the Writing program at Columbia University, the Past President of the American Dialect Society, and formerly was an editor for Random House Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary; 

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9 thoughts on “Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Goes Live

  1. Did HD/SF provide the screen grab? As much as I’ve been rolling around on the floor laughing at fuggheads for over 50 years, I’d like to think there must be some slightly less… triggering… examples that could be used to illustrate the faanish lingo.

  2. Jeff Schalles: I was poking around and it struck my fancy. I could always have picked one that is fraught with serious and constructive meaning. Well, no, I could have recognized one like that, but picked it for my illustration?

  3. What a glorious discovery Mike! I simply love this. (Tells you what kind of soul I have that relishes reading the dictionary for fun. Anything to keep me from becoming an old fugghead.)

  4. A wonderful resource

    “See the happy fugghead:
    He doesn’t give a Foo!
    Sometimes I am a fugghead!
    (But that is DNQ).

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  7. This post was truly worthwhile to read. I wanted to say thank you for the key points you have pointed out as they are enlightening.

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