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[goo-guh l] /ˈgu gəl/
the brand name of a leading Internet search engine, founded in 1998.
verb (used with object), Googled, Googling.
(often lowercase) to search the Internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.):
We googled the new applicant to check her background.
verb (used without object), Googled, Googling.
(often lowercase) to use a search engine such as Google to find information, a website address, etc., on the Internet.
Origin of Google
First recorded in 1998; after mathematical term googol
Can be confused
goggle, Google, googol.
Word story
Founded in 1998, the website has become such an institution that in its short existence, it has changed not only the way we process the endless data found on the information superhighway, but also the way we think and talk about the Internet.
The term google itself is a creative spelling of googol, a number equal to 10 to the 100th power, or more colloquially, an unfathomable number. Googol was coined in the 1930s and is attributed to the nine-year-old nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner.
Soon after Google was created, the trademarked company name became a popular verb. People were “googling” all sorts of information, including their own names. When users google themselves, unless their names are absurdly rare, they may find their “googlegangers” (a portmanteau word combining “google” and “doppelgänger”), or their namesakes, listed in the Google search results.
A whole new industry has sprung up around Google, including the new field of search-engine optimization or SEO, which works to boost the ranking of a name or term in Google and other search-engine results. In 2005, the newly-minted term Google bomb became popular, to describe the intentional skewing of Google search results by creating links to misleading Web pages. Whether we like it or not, we now live in a Google-centric world.
Related Quotations
“Google has come to represent all our hopes, dreams, and fears about the disruptive promise and dangers of the Internet.“
—Rob Hof, “Is Google Too Powerful?“ Bloomberg Businessweek (April 9, 2007)
“Google's uncorporate slogan—‘Don't be evil’—appeals to Americans who embrace underdogs.“
—Ken Auletta, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It (2009)
“Show us a man or woman who’s never Googled an ex, and we’ll show you someone without an Internet connection.“
—Em & Lo, “You, Again: Reconnecting with the ex is a dicey proposition“ New York (September 24, 2006)
“I know nothing about this man, except for what I Googled.“
—Irene Zutell, Pieces of Happily Ever After (2009) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Google
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for Google


noun trademark
a popular search engine on the internet
verb (without a cap)
to search for (something on the internet) using a search engine
to check (the credentials of someone) by searching for websites containing his or her name
Word Origin
C20: a play on googol
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for Google

to search for information on the Internet, esp. using the Google search engine


We googled to find the definition of the new word.

Word Origin

trademark Google

Usage Note

googling n's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for Google



"to search (something) on the Google search engine," 2000 (do a google on was used by 1999). The domain was registered in 1997. A verb google was an early 20c. cricket term in reference to a type of breaking ball.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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