astronaut (n.)

"space-traveler," 1929 in scientific speculation, popularized from 1961 by U.S. space program, a compound from Greek elements, from astro- "star" + Greek nautēs "sailor" (from PIE root *nau- "boat").

French astronautique (adj.) had been coined 1927 by "J.H. Rosny," pen name of Belgian-born science fiction writer Joseph Henri Honoré Boex, on model of aéronautique, and Astronaut was used in 1880 as the name of a fictional spaceship by English writer Percy Greg in "Across the Zodiac."

updated on September 24, 2022