[ net-wurk ]
See synonyms for: networknetworkednetworkingnetworks on

  1. any netlike combination of filaments, lines, veins, passages, or the like: a network of arteries; a network of sewers under the city.

  2. Radio and Television.

    • a group of transmitting stations linked by wire or microwave relay so that the same program can be broadcast or telecast by all.

    • a company or organization that provides programs to be broadcast over these stations: She was hired by the network as program coordinator.

  1. Telecommunications, Computers. a system containing any combination of computers, computer terminals, printers, audio or visual display devices, or telephones interconnected by telecommunication equipment or cables: used to transmit or receive information.

  2. an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like: a network of recent college graduates.

  3. a system of interrelated buildings, offices, stations, etc., especially over a large area or throughout a country, territory, region, etc.: a network of supply depots.

  4. Electricity. an arrangement of conducting elements, as resistors, capacitors, or inductors, connected by conducting wire.

verb (used without object)
  1. to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position: His business lunches were taken up with networking.

verb (used with object)
  1. to place (as a program from a local radio or television station) in or on a network: The station will try to network the local cooking show.

  2. to connect to a network: Our freelancers are networked to the same system as our regular employees.

  1. to distribute widely: We charge a small fee for networking your résumé.

  2. to cover with or as if with a network: to network a bay with buoys.

  3. to organize into a network: to network the state's independent stations.

  4. to broadcast (a program) over a radio or television network.

Origin of network

First recorded in 1550–60, and in 1910–15 for def. 2; net1 + work

word story For network

Network is an obvious compound of the nouns net and work. Originally, in the 16th century, it referred to anything made of threads or wires or suchlike in the pattern of intersecting lines or meshes resembling a net.
Through different eras, network developed senses to reflect the modes of human connection prevalent at the time. Network in the sense “natural features forming a chain, as islands, or a man-made system of interconnecting railroads, canals, telegraphs, or telephones” dates from the 19th century. The sense “a system to broadcast radio and television signals by many transmitters over a very wide area” dates from before World War I. The meaning “system of interconnected computers” dates from the 1960s, while the sense of a “group of individuals having a common interest” is earlier, from the 1940s.

Other words from network

  • networker, noun
  • non·net·work, adjective
  • sub·net·work, noun
  • su·per·net·work, noun

Words Nearby network Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use network in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for network


/ (ˈnɛtˌwɜːk) /

  1. an interconnected group or system: a network of shops

  2. Also: net a system of intersecting lines, roads, veins, etc

  1. another name for net 1 (def. 1), netting

  2. radio television a group of broadcasting stations that all transmit the same programme simultaneously

  3. electronics a system of interconnected components or circuits

  4. computing a system of interconnected computer systems, terminals, and other equipment allowing information to be exchanged

  1. (tr) radio television to broadcast on stations throughout the country: the Scotland–England match was networked

  2. computing (of computers, terminals, etc) to connect or be connected

  1. (intr) to form business contacts through informal social meetings

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

Scientific definitions for network


[ nĕtwûrk′ ]

  1. A system of computers and peripherals, such as printers, that are linked together. A network can consist of as few as two computers connected with cables or millions of computers that are spread over a large geographical area and are connected by telephone lines, fiberoptic cables, or radio waves. The Internet is an example of very large network. See more at LAN WAN.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for network


A system of computers that are joined together so that they can communicate by exchanging information and sharing resources. (See Internet and lan.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.