Metaverse and Other Words from Science Fiction

Dec 13, 2021

Before you heard it from Mark Zuckerberg, metaverse, the word and idea, first appeared in Neal Stephenson's science fiction book Snow Crash in 1992. Stephenson is also credited with bringing the word avatar, originally a concept within Hinduism, into pop culture.

Grok is another word that's come into common use among programmers. It was originally used in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

What other words have come from science fiction?

  • artificial intelligence – 1973 in Chains of Sea by G.R. Dozois
  • cyberspace – 1984 in Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • robot – 1920 in Rossum's Universal Robots by K. Čapek
  • cyberpunk – 1980 in Cyberpunk by Bruce Bethke (made popular in Gibson's Neuromancer)
  • terraform – 1942 in Collision Orbit by Jack Williamson. (for the DevOps readers, ansible is also a science fiction neologism!)

And not science fiction, but one of my favorites that found its way into quantum mechanics.

  • quark – 1939 in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce