SF in OED, December 2009

The SFnal words are a bit more peripheral in this update, but nonetheless includes one of my favorite SF-sourced combining forms:

-zilla [from Godzilla, of course]:

With preceding noun, forming humorous, usually temporary words which depict a person or thing as a particularly imposing, relentless, or overbearing example of its kind.

First cite is for the form “hogzilla”, from 1978. Other forms attested include “bosszilla”, “bird-zilla”, “groomzilla”, “momzilla”, “thespzilla”. For more -zilla goodness, see The Tensor’s excellent post on this, way back in aught-five. And you can’t have a -zilla entry without one for the prime exemplar of its use, namely


A woman thought to have become intolerably obsessive or overbearing in planning the details of her wedding.

First cite 1995.

Not particularly SF, but rather from fantasy, are to go flatline

(of an electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, etc.) to display a flatline

which has a first cite from Stephen King’s 1979 The Dead Zone, and flatliner

A person who is in cardiac arrest or is brain-dead; a dead person

which has a note saying that it was popularized by the 1990 film Flatliners. (Interestingly, the entry for this sense of flatliner also says that it was originally North American medical slang, despite the first cite being some 1989 pre-press for the film. (And of course, the term will have particular resonance for fans of Neuromancer.)

Not genre-related in any way, shape, or form, but of interest to parents of very small children, are the entries for Ferber,

A strategy for training children to fall asleep on their own by gradually limiting intervention by caregivers.

and Ferberize (with Ferberizing run-on),

To use the Ferber method or a similar technique to train (a child) to fall asleep independently.

4 Responses to “SF in OED, December 2009”

  1. […] SF in OED, December 2009 (jeffprucher.com) […]

  2. Thad Guidry says:

    Earth shattering, I felt the rumble…or…better check his diapers.

  3. Do you spot new words in current literature? It would be interesting to predict which ones will endure.

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