Some new terms that at first seemed aptly modern quickly turned out to be inadequate to encompass what the Internet rapidly became. For example, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the metaphor information superhighway was popularized by former Vice President Al Gore to help people visualize how the Internet could become a part of their everyday lives. But as the Internet became ubiquitous, this metaphor, along with the related term infobahn (modeled on autobahn ), was forsaken by those who took the benefits of the Internet as a given. Now the term information superhighway is generally considered outmoded and often used humorously.
Netizen , a term used to describe a person who avidly uses the Internet, has become less relevant as more people gain online access. (However, in some countries in which Internet use is restricted or controlled by the government, the term netizen remains relevant because it connotes unfettered online access.) In contrast, the newer term digital citizen has grown in use amid concerns that more people, especially young people, need to learn how to safely and effectively navigate the Internet. The term netiquette , or the rules of etiquette for communicating online, has also declined in use—hopefully because netiquette has become more widely accepted, rather than because it is now held in lower esteem. And, as dial-up services are phased out and replaced, the term itself has unsurprisingly fallen out of popular use.
The colorful term cyberspace , coined by sci-fi author William Gibson in the early 1980s, peaked around the year 2000, but has declined since. However, the prefix cyber- has proven to be not only relevant but linguistically productive. The terms cybercrime , cyberterrorism , cyberbullying , and cyberstalking , for example, have surged in use as people have become increasingly concerned about online security and the personal and social outcomes of an interconnected online world.
In the 1990s, you might have surfed the web, but today you’re more likely to see the verbs browse or search in this context. Similarly, you now look up something on the Internet or you simply go online . The expression World Wide Web over the years has become truncated to the easier-to-say web . The term Hyperlink , though still in use, has been overtaken by its shortened version, link . An instant message is more often referred to simply as an IM . In most Internet contexts, the adjective electronic has been shortened to the prefix e- . So electronic mail has become email (originally e-mail ), and other popular compounds like e-learning , e-wallet , e-signature , and e-commerce have followed suit.
It is not uncommon for tech-savvy people to playfully use old-fashioned-sounding terms or awkward sentences to comically contrast with their actual technological competence; for example, replacing for the sake of humor the simple suggestion to “look it up online” with “ask the Interweb.” They also may indulge in facetious grammatical errors—like “I has a hotdog”—and conspicuous misspellings—like “teh lolz kitteh” for “the funny cat.” Popular Internet memes can take this playfulness further: for example, LOLcat and doge (an intentional misspelling of dog ), in which animal photos are paired with their imagined, usually humorous thoughts.
It’s impossible to know exactly where these trends in Internet-related language will go next. However, we can feel confident that as the Internet grows and morphs, so too will the language we use to describe it.
Examples from the Web for internet
The best comparison here for an American audience is, well, Internet stuff.
The new information consisted of Internet protocol addresses that Comey said are “exclusively used” by North Korea.
Three months ago, the two had a baby together and the Internet mostly just shrugged.All Your Internet Boyfriends Are Taken: Gosling, Cumberbatch, and now Joseph Gordon-Levitt|Melissa Leon|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Do as Tumblr has done and scrub her last words off the Internet—erase everything she wanted the world to hear.Cover-Ups and Concern Trolls: Actually, It's About Ethics in Suicide Journalism|Arthur Chu|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
It was the year that Kim Kardashian attempted to break the Internet with hers.Year of the Butt: How the Booty Changed the World in 2014|Kevin Fallon|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
(Transcriber's note: The original page images this book was made from were provided by the Internet Archive).Vidyapati Bangiya Padabali|Vidyapati Thakura
This model - adopted earlier by radio and television - rules the Internet now and will rule the wireless Internet in the future.After the Rain|Sam Vaknin
The scans on which this e-book was based have been generously made available by the Internet Archive.Soft Candy for Bees|Dr. Burton N. Gates
Among the most active Internet forums, religion maintains a presence supported by the best that technology can offer.The Civilization of Illiteracy|Mihai Nadin
Scans of this book are available from the Internet Archive (1, 2, 3).The Inhabitants of the Philippines|Frederic H. Sawyer
British Dictionary definitions for internet
Word Origin and History for internet
Science definitions for internet
Culture definitions for internet
The global communication network that allows almost all computers worldwide to connect and exchange information. Some of the early impetus for such a network came from the U.S. government network Arpanet, starting in the 1960s.