Top 10 Words the Internet Has Given the English Language

It’s a great reminder of how messily human the stories behind even our sleekest creations are – not to mention delightful curiosities in their own right.

 

1. Avatar
Avatar

This word for our digital incarnations has a mysterious origin to it, beginning with the Sanskrit term avatara, that is often used to describe the descent of a god from the heavens into an earthly form. Arriving in the English dictionary sometime in late 18th century, via Hindi, the term largely preserved its mystical meaning until Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash popularized it in a technological sense.

Fusing notions of virtual world-building and incarnation, it’s the perfect emblem of computers as a portal to a new species of experience.

There are so many online avatar/character to pick from, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Indeed, it’s also hard to even find them.

As a writer, I like to picture my characters on paper, and since I can’t draw anything, I turn to these nifty tools to make my characters literally come to life.

 

2. Hashtags
Hashtag

In 1920s America, the # sign was used as a shorthand for weight in pounds (and they still call it the pound sign). It was first brought to pubic usage thanks to its adoption by telephone engineers at Bell Labs in the 1960s – and if you’re looking to sound clever, you could call it an “octothorpe”, the  term coined at Bell to describe it. It’s on Twitter, though, that hashtags have really come into their own, serving as a kind of function code for social interaction #Top10List.

If you have been on Twitter or Google+, you may have already used it. To put it simply, a hash tag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common theme and to begin a conversing. For example, if you search on #SUSANBOYLE, you’ll get a list of tweets related to the Britain’s Got Talent Star. What you won’t get are tweets that say “I lost my phone yesterday” because “lost” isn’t preceded by the hash tag. Hashtags believed to have originated on Twitter but, interestingly enough, it is not just Twitter function. Some believe it began when the broken plane luckily landed in the Hudson River in early 2009, some Twitter user wrote a post and added #flight1549 to it. I have no idea who this person is, but somebody else would have read it and when he wrote something about the event,  he added #flight1549 to his tweet and so the domino effect ensued. For something like this, where tweets would have been flying fast and furiously, it wouldn’t have taken long for this hash tag to go viral and suddenly thousands of people posting about it would have added it to their tweets as well. Then, if you wanted info on the situation, you could do a search on “#flight1549″ and see everything that people had written about it.

 

3. Scunthorpe problems
Scunthorpe problems

Computing can be as much combat as collaboration between people and machines, and the Scunthorpe problem is a perfect example. The Scunthorpe Problem arise when search engines create a filter to exclude the use of some words and because the word Scunthorpe contains a very certain word, this prevents residents of Scunthorpe from opening accounts and from people who were searching for businesses in Scunthorpe from finding them. Similar issues were found in Penistone in Yorkshire, Lightwater in Surrey and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

 

4. Trolling
trolling

Interrnet trolling can be defined as the anti-social act of causing of interpersonal conflict and shock-value controversy online.

As you’ve probably already know, there are people lurking all over the web who find pure joy in humiliating and attacking others. Tapping the expertise of psychologists and experts, it offers solid reasons why this scourge of the Internet continues.

We all like to think that most people mean well, and are inherently good. Even if that’s true, studies show us instances where even some good people can quickly turn bad, all because of a variety of situations related to mob behavior.

When people think they can stay anonymous, they do things they otherwise would not do.  When conversations are not taking place in real time, some people feel like they can quickly dash off a negative comment and then immediately escape altogether. And when people get all wrapped up in their narcissism and rebelliousness, they might be more likely to pick on others they don’t even know.

 

5. Memes
Memes

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene as a shortening of the Ancient Greek term mimeme (“an imitated thing”). He designed his new word to sound like “gene”, signifying a unit of cultural transmission. Little did he know that his term would become one of the most iconic of online phenomena, embodying the capacity of the internet to itself act as a kind of gene-pool for thoughts and beliefs – and for infectious, endlessly ingenious slices of time-wasting.

 

6. LOL

LOLs

If you type “LOL” or “lol”, you’re saying “laughing out loud”, unless you are a mother who used it to describe a death in the family. You’re offering a kind of stage direction: dramatizing the process of typing. It sounds simple, but this is part of a radical change in language. For the first time in history, we’re conducting conversations through written words (or, more precisely, through typing onto screens). And in the process we’re expending immense effort on making words and symbols express the emotional range of face-to-face interactions. Yet it’s all, also, performance; a careful crafting of appearances that can bear little resemblance to reality.

You will also see variations like LOLZ (a version of LOL, ROFL (Rolling on Floor Laughing), and ROFLMAO (Rolling on Floor, Laugh My Ass Off). In the United Kingdom, PMSL is also a popular version of LOL.

 

7. Spam
Spam

The most enduring gift of British comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus may prove to be a digital one: the term “spam”. The key episode, first broadcast in 1970, featured a sketch called “SPAM”: the brand name used since 1937 by the Hormel Foods Corporation as a contraction of the phrase spiced ham. Set in a cafe where almost every single item on the menu featured spam, the sketch culminated in a chorus of Viking warriors drowning everyone else’s voices out by chanting the word “spam”.  A satirical indictment of British culinary monotony, it took on a second life during the early 1980s, when those who wished to derail early online discussions copied out the same words repeatedly in order to clog up a debate. Inspired by Python, the word spam proved a popular way of doing this. “Spamming” came to describe any process of drowning out “real” content – and the rest is repetitive history.

 

 

8. Meh
MMeh

The origins of the word “meh” are not known, however, sources have said that the origins can be traced from the aberdeen and embassy area of Woodbridge Ontario and also from the downtown core of Brantford, Ontario. The exact defintion of the word meh has also not yet been established, however, it is often used in the context of “I dont know” or “I dont care”. It has been recognized as a wonder of the world, due to its amazing capaiblity of changing meanings often. more information will be posted once the proper definition has been uncovered along with examples.

 

9. Geeks
Geeks

“Geek” arrived in English from Low German, in which a geck denoted a crazy person; in traveling circuses, the geek show traditionally involved a performer biting off the heads of live chickens. By 1952, the sense of a freakishly adept technology enthusiast had appeared in science fiction

Today, the word is now associated with contemporary student and computer slang, as in computer geek. In fact, geek is first attested in 1876 with the meaning “fool,” and it later also came to mean “a performer engaging in bizarre acts like biting the head off a live chicken.” Perhaps the use of geek to describe a circus sideshow has contributed to the popularity it enjoys today. The circus was a much more significant source of entertainment in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries than it is now, and large numbers of traveling circuses left a cultural legacy in various unexpected ways. Superman and other comic book superheroes owe much of their look to circus acrobats, who were similarly costumed in capes and tights. We also owe the word ballyhoo to the circus; its ultimate origin is unknown, but in the late 1800s it referred to a flamboyant free musical performance conducted outside a circus with the goal of luring customers to buy tickets to the shows inside.

 

10. Cupertino Effect
Cupertinos

Also known as “auto-correct errors”, a Cupertino error typically occurs when your computer thinks it is smarter than you in terms of spelling. The name comes from an early spell checker program, which knew the word Cupertino – the Californian city where Apple has its headquarters – but not the word “cooperation”. All the cooperations in a document might thus be automatically “corrected” into Cupertinos. Courtesy of smart phones, such as iPhone, Cupertinos have much richer field  – a personal favorite being my smartphone’s determination to transform “Facebook” into “ravenous”.

Foreign words are easily affected by the Cupertino effect, as when a California lawyer submitted a brief in which the Latin phrase sua sponte (’of one’s own accord’) had unfortunately been changed to sea sponge.euters story from today appears to have fallen victim to an overzealous spellchecker, resulting in an enjoyable typo. Or someone over there hates the British monarchy.

With its highly evolved social structure of tens of thousands of worker bees commanded by Queen Elizabeth, the honey bee genome could also improve the search for genes linked to social behavior . .

“Queen Elizabeth has 10 times the lifespan of workers and lays up to 2,000 eggs a day.”

 LOLZ

 

10. Geeks
Geeks“Geek” arrived in English from Low German, in which a geck denoted a crazy person; in traveling circuses, the geek show traditionally involved a performer biting off the heads of live chickens. By 1952, the sense of a freakishly adept technology enthusiast had appeared in science fiction

Today, the word is now associated with contemporary student and computer slang, as in computer geek. In fact, geek is first attested in 1876 with the meaning “fool,” and it later also came to mean “a performer engaging in bizarre acts like biting the head off a live chicken.” Perhaps the use of geek to describe a circus sideshow has contributed to the popularity it enjoys today. The circus was a much more significant source of entertainment in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries than it is now, and large numbers of traveling circuses left a cultural legacy in various unexpected ways. Superman and other comic book superheroes owe much of their look to circus acrobats, who were similarly costumed in capes and tights. We also owe the word ballyhoo to the circus; its ultimate origin is unknown, but in the late 1800s it referred to a flamboyant free musical performance conducted outside a circus with the goal of luring customers to buy tickets to the shows inside.

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