Ben Squires


Fri, 23 Oct, 2015

20 old words that have new meanings since the birth of the internet

20 old words that have new meanings since the birth of the internet

To mark its 20th birthday, has revealed a list of commonly used words that have seen their definition change considerably in the last couple of decades.

The changes have been primarily driven by the increased use of social media. While 1995 may seem like it was just yesterday to some of us, 20 years is actually a really long time. The world has change from dial-up modems and VCRs to unlimited broadband and Netflix streaming.

Check out the list of 20 words with new meanings below:

1. Bump

Then: “to come more or less heavily in contact with.”

Now: “to move an online post or thread to the top of the reverse chronological list by adding a new comment or post to the thread.”

2. Cloud

Then: “a visible collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air.”

Now: “any of several parts of the Internet that allow online processing and storage of documents and data as well as electronic access to software and other resources.”

3. Core

Then: “the central part of a fleshy fruit, containing the seeds.”

Now: “the muscles of the torso, which provide support for the spine and pelvis.”

4. Fail

Then: “to come short or be wanting in action.”

Now: “to make an embarrassing or humorous mistake, be in a humiliating situation, etc., and be subject to ridicule.”

5. Footprint

Then: “a mark left by the foot.”

Now: “a unique set of characteristics, actions, etc., that leave a trace and serve as a means of identification.”

6. Friend

Then: “someone attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.”

Now: “to add a person to one’s list of contacts on a social-networking website.”

7. Glance

Then: “to look quickly or briefly.”

Now: “Information on an electronic screen that can be understood quickly or at a glance.”

8. Goldilocks

Then: “a person with golden hair.”

Now: “Not being extreme or not varying drastically between extremes, especially between hot and cold.”

9. Like

Then: “having the same or similar qualities or characteristics.”

Now: “to indicate one’s enjoyment of, agreement with, or interest in website content, especially in social media.”

10. Meme

Then: “a cultural element, as a custom or concept.”

Now: “A cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.”

11. Ping:

Then: “to produce a sharp, ringing, high-pitched sound.”

Now: “to make contact with someone by sending a brief electronic message, as a text message.”

12. Profile:

Then: “the outline or contour of the human face, especially as seen from the side.”

Now: “the personal details, images, user statistics, social-media timeline, etc., that an individual creates and associates with a username or online account.”

13. Sandbox:

Then: “a container holding sand, usually located in an outdoors area.”

Now: “an environment in which software developers or editors can create and test new content, separate from other content in the project.”

14. Swipe

Then: “a stroke with full swing of the arms.”

Now: “to move the fingers across a touchscreen.”

15. Takeaway

Then: “food or beverage purchased for consumption elsewhere.”

Now: “conclusions, impressions, or action points resulting from a meeting, discussion, roundtable, or the like.”

16. Text

Then: “the main body of matter in a book or manuscript.”

Now: “to send a text message.”

17. Timeline

Then: “a representation of historical events in the form of a line.”

Now:  “a collection of online posts or updates associated with a specific social-media account, in reverse chronological order.”

18. Tweet

Then: “the weak chirp of a young or small bird.”

Now: “a very short message posted on the Twitter website.”

19. Unplug

Then: “to disconnect by pulling the plug from it or from a power socket.”

Now: “to refrain from using digital or electronic devices for a period of time.”

20. Viral

Then: “relating to or caused by a virus.”

Now: “becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet.”

Related links: 

8 great things you can do with your Kindle

Can you guess what new words have been added to Merriam-Webster dictionary?

3 great FREE translation apps to use when travelling 

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