Have you ever wondered how we came up with the name for the computer mouse? Where did the concept of memes come from? We come across these words regularly when we use technology, but most of us have no idea where they originated from. Some of these origins are pretty funny and brighten up the meanings of these terms we’ve come to use so often.
Common computer terms like ‘file’ and ‘code’ all had other meanings before the invention of computers and the internet. Even the term ‘proxy’ had a completely different meaning in history. Now, proxy services are much more common, and most of us probably don’t even realize where the word originated from. Instead, we know that providers like Smartproxy offer reliable proxy service to anyone working online, which allows users to hide their internet protocol (IP) addresses and provide added security to those working online. But where did the word originate from?
5 Tech Terms With Funny Origins
While we already know the history of many technology terms, the meanings have been lost for quite a few over the years. Some of them, once traced back, have exciting or funny origins. Let’s take a look at a few now.
Most of us use browsers daily. They help us search for information on the internet. This wasn’t always the case. In the days before the internet, we used to do the research ourselves. We did this by browsing libraries and other physical stores to get information on specific products and topics.
However, the term “browsing” goes back even further than that. Browser is an offshoot of the verb “browse,” which originated from the Anglo-French word for sprouts. Yes, that’s right. At its origin, browsing referred to sprouts, or more accurately, the act of looking for them. When the term was used initially, it described the action of roaming around and searching for leaves, twigs, shoots, and other items that could be fed to animals. It referred to foraging until the nineteenth century, at which point it started being used for other forms of searching.
The origin of the word “server” might surprise you, but not because it is incredibly ancient with an evolved meaning.
“Server” has been around since the fifteenth century and refers to a person serving food, wine, or other drinks. It can also refer to a computer in a network providing a service.
The term can refer to the person who begins the play in certain ball games, such as tennis and volleyball, too.
The term “proxy” is also one that has been around since the fifteenth century. Back in those days, it referred to the agency or office of a deputy that acts on behalf of another person. In essence, it means having the power to act on behalf of another.
Proxy allows you to browse the internet as if you are someone else by allowing you to use the proxy’s IP address instead of your own.
This is probably one of the most baffling technological terms around. This word refers to the computer mouse that enables you to move the cursor across your screen. However, why is it called a mouse? It’s not furry, neither is it tiny, so why would the creators decide on this name?
The inventor of the computer mouse, Douglas Engelbart, was recorded saying that he had no idea where the name came from. They just started calling it a mouse while developing it and never changed it. One of the possible explanations was that it looked somewhat like a mouse with a rounded body and tail-like cord.
However, another hardware designer involved in creating the mouse, Roger Bates, said that the reason they started referring to it as such was because the cursor on the screen was known as a CAT, and cats chase mice. Regardless of the origins, the mouse remains one of the oddest names for a piece of technology.
We are all accustomed to memes. You can’t scroll any of your social media pages without encountering some. But where did the odd name originate, and what does it mean? Memes were originally used to describe ideas or actions that spread virally on the internet. However, the term “meme” has been around for much longer than the internet.
“Meme” was created by Richard Dawkins. He mentioned it for the first time in his book The Selfish Gene back in 1976. He explained that he was looking for a word to describe cultural imitation. He settled on the old Greek word mimeme, which means ‘‘imitated thing.’’ However, he shortened it to “meme.”
It is odd to think of the origins of some of these commonly used tech words. There are many words that we use every single day that started out meaning something different. The origins of some of these can be very entertaining.