8 Words that the Internet has Hijacked

Good morning everyone,

It's looking like our awesome fall weather might be coming to an end...this weekend will continue to see beautiful sunny skies, but the mercury will fall and highs will be in the low 20s. Luckily, so far only Tuesday is looking like rain, so even though it's going to be a bit cooler, it should remain sunny with the exception of Tuesday.

Technological change, as we know very well, often leads to linguistic and cultural change, too. It’s the reason why, several times a year, dictionaries trumpet the addition of new and typically very trendy words.

To mark their 20th birthday, the online dictionary Dictionary.com has compiled a list of words whose meanings have changed since it launched two decades ago.


Then: “a long narrow boat that is pointed at both ends and that is moved by a paddle with one blade.”

Now: “a Twitter conversation that has picked up too many usernames for an actual conversation to take place.”


Catfishes were only bottom-dwelling fish.

Then: “a freshwater or marine fish with whiskerlike barbels around the mouth, typically bottom-dwelling.”

Now: “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.”


Clouds were only found in the sky.

Clouds were only found in the sky.

Then: “a visible mass of particles of condensed vapour (as water or ice) suspended in the atmosphere of a planet (as the earth) or moon.”

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.”


Friends weren't just social network contacts. 

Friends weren't just social network contacts. Friend has now also become a verb.

Then: “one attached to another by affection or esteem.”

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


Sandboxes were just for kids.

Sandboxes were just for kids.

Then: “a low box filled with sand that children can play in.”

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


A cat swipes at a string.

A cat swipes at a string.

Then: “a criticism or insult that is directed toward a particular person or group; a swinging movement of a person’s hand, an animal’s paw, etc.”

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


Trolls were dolls or mythical creatures.

Trolls were dolls or mythical creatures.

Then: “a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore living in caves or hills.”

Now: “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.”


Unplugging involved physically disconnecting power from a device.

Unplugging involved physically disconnecting power from a device.

Then: “to disconnect something, such as a lamp or television from an electrical source or another device by removing its plug.”

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

Another word that isn't on this list, mainly because it was created a few years ago is using 'google' as a verb. If we want to search for something online, we'll often say, "Hang on. I'll google it." or "Can you google it and let me know?".

I'll be honest and admit that I've never used 'canoe' or 'catfish' in their new meanings, but I've often heard people use 'troll' and I often dream of 'unplugging' for a weekend or so...

Have a great day!

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