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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

typewriter mechanism and key, 1882, agent noun from space (v.).


n. 1 A person who works in space. 2 An object inserted to hold a space open in a row of items, e.g. beads or printed type. 3 A bushing. 4 (context slang English) A forgetful person. 5 (context medicine English) A type of add-on device used by an asthmatic person to increase the effectiveness of a metered-dose inhaler.


Spacer may refer to:

  • Spacers and standoffs, unthreaded pieces of rigid tubing
  • Spacer (Asimov), in Isaac Asimov's Robot Series
  • Rebar spacer, in concrete construction
  • Spacer, alias for flesh tunnel, a type of body piercing
  • Spacer, element in HTML web design
  • "Spacer" (song), a song by Sheila and B. Devotion from the 1980 album King of the World
  • Spacer (album), 2011 jazz album by Jason Adasiewicz
Spacer (Asimov)

Spacers were the fictional first humans to emigrate to space in Isaac Asimov's Foundation and related Robot and Empire series. In these stories, about a millennium thereafter, they severed political ties with Earth, and embraced low population-growth and extreme longevity (with lifespans reaching 400 years) as a means for a high standard of living, in combination with using large numbers of robots as servants. At the same time, they also became militarily dominant over Earth.

Asimov's novels chronicle the gradual deterioration of the Spacer worlds, and the disappearance of robots from human society. The exact details vary from book to book, and in at least one case—the radioactive contamination of Earth—later scientific discoveries forced Asimov to retcon his own future history. The general pattern, however, is as follows:

In the vague period between Asimov's near-future Robot short stories (of the type collected in I, Robot) and his novels, immigrants from Earth establish colonies on fifty worlds, the first being Aurora, the last Solaria, and the Hall of the Worlds located on Melpomenia, the nineteenth. Sociological forces possibly related to their sparse populations and dependence on robot labor lead to the collapse of most of these worlds; their dominance is replaced by new, upstart colonies known as " Settler" worlds. Unlike their Spacer predecessors, the Settlers detested robots, and so by the time of the Empire novels, robotics is almost an unknown science.

Roger MacBride Allen's Caliban trilogy portrays several years in the history of Inferno, a planet where Spacers recruit Settlers to rebuild the collapsing ecology.

In Foundation and Earth, Golan Trevize visits several of these worlds. We learn the eventual fate of Aurora ( The Robots of Dawn) and also Solaria, the setting of the earlier novel The Naked Sun.

Spacer (album)

Spacer is an album by American jazz vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, which was recorded in 2011 and released on Delmark. It was the second album by his trio Sun Rooms, featuring bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed.

Usage examples of "spacer".

When gaps showed in the cloud cover, the spacers caught sight of new roads, towns.

I had the night I let the spacers inveigle me into the crooked card game, where there was a great deal to gain and my life to lose.

Building him had been a violation of the most basic Spacer law and philosophy, but Fredda Leving had gone ahead, anyway.

The snipper wants to pay for weight, and the spacer wants him to pay for value.

The blue body-suit was similar to that once worn by Ult spacers, a complex interweaving of metallic and synthetic tubules so that it adjusted to protect its wearer against heat and cold, pressure and vacuum.

The Veep might talk of having Diskan in a vice because of his flight from Vaanchard and the stolen spacer, but a dead man was even easier to control.

Spacers waiting in line greeted Daniel cheerfully as the taxi glided to a halt, and Plastin, a tech on guard duty in the entrance hatch, bent to give him a hand up.

Spacer Mike Ross, in trouble with the authorities, is hired by a wealthy and eccentric sportswoman to captain an expedition in search of the almost mythical adventurer, Lawrence Knight, and his telepathic robot.

All around her, the ship started to make a strange, almost subaudible noise, one no spacer should ever have to listen to: the sound of realspace engines destroying themselves from the inside out.

They are to undergo hypnotic foretreatment on board dispatch spacer, and hypnotic aftertreatment upon return.

Superior spacers wearing hard-suits painted with the sword emblem of the Algol clan.

Her feet had been replaced with peds, oversized hands popular with spacers.

He would sit around in the Unicorn, drinking and complaining to other rockbound spacers, or cadging tales from those passing through.

With the endless wealth of Spacer society, and the omnipresent robots to serve as watchkeepers, theft was almost unknown, and security systems even rarer.

Maybe the bosses dirtside are crooked, but the shuttle operators are real spacers.