Anyway, this is all a very long way of saying that Dictionary.com’s 20th birthday is more interesting than most: To mark the occasion, the online dictionary has compiled a list of words whose meanings have changed since it launched two decades ago. To that list, we have added a few tech terms of our own: such as “troll” and “firehose.”
On one hand, the list shows how technology has shaped language over time. But it also shows how language has shaped technology — or, at least, our technological understandings and paradigms. Think about a term such as “cloud”: the fact that we picked that to describe cloud computing says a whole lot about how we viewed that technology when it was brand-new. Don’t even get me started on words such as “sandbox” and “canoe”…
Then: “a visible mass of particles of condensed vapor (as water or ice) suspended in the atmosphere of a planet (as the earth) or moon.” (source)
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.” (source)
Then: “to go or come after or behind someone or something; to pursue in an effort to overtake.” (source)
Now: to subscribe to someone’s updates on social media.
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