Smurf, Nerf, Buff, and More Old Words With New Meanings You Should Know

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Image for nonfiction  titled Smurf, Nerf, Buff, and More Old Words With New Meanings You Should Know

Photo: Aisyaqilumaranas (Shutterstock)

The dispersed of modern exertion has changed astir everything successful our lives—including what adjacent the astir communal of words mean. Rather than invent a connection for each caller happening oregon concept, our connection is flexible capable that we tin conscionable get aged words and tweak their meanings. We don’t adjacent request to deliberation astir it much! We’re chill similar that.

Below are immoderate examples of comparatively caller shifts successful definitions driven by technology, nouns that are present verbs, and terminology that video-gamers person claimed for themselves.

Old words with caller meanings

Catfish—in its verb form—once meant “to food for catfish.” Now it means that and “to instrumentality idiosyncratic online by mounting up a fake profile.” As a noun, it tin notation to either the food oregon 1 who catfishes online. It’s lone been astir since 2010, and comes from the documentary Catfish.

The Cloud: We cognize precisely erstwhile the “cloud” was archetypal utilized successful nationalist to notation not to the fluffy achromatic forms supra america but to the retention of information connected faraway servers: Aug. 9, 2006 when Google CEO Eric Schmidt discussed “cloud computing” astatine a tech conference.

Handle: Using grip to mean “alias” really pre-dates the wide usage of the internet. It archetypal gained popularity among CB-radio-using truckers of the 1970s who referred to each different by their handles alternatively of their names.

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Ping: Ping utilized to simply mean a abbreviated ringing sound, oregon to marque a abbreviated ringing sound. Now, though, it besides refers to a machine querying different machine to verify a connection, oregon 1 idiosyncratic sending an physics connection to different person. (I haven’t heard backmost from her yet; I’ll ping her again.)

Tweet: Twitter hijacked the connection “tweet,” and birds are pissed.

Viral: This adjective primitively referred to biologic viruses, past came to picture machine viruses, and present tin mean thing that spreads like a virus.

Drone: Drone meaning “remote controlled aircraft” was first utilized successful 1936 to picture an aboriginal pilotless craft. It caught on.

Like: “Like” tin mean, like, a ton of antithetic things, but earlier the emergence of societal media, the phrases “He gave maine a like” oregon “my meme got a cardinal likes” wouldn’t person made sense.

OLD: This just-catching-on-now connection is an almost-acronym for “online dating.”

Nouns that person go verbs

Informally, you tin verb immoderate noun you want, but present are immoderate that person caught on.

Troll: Annoying radical who messiness with others for their ain amusement person ever been around, but calling them “trolls” and describing what they bash arsenic “trolling” seems to day backmost to 1990s net chat-speak.

Spam: Spam, the canned nutrient product, was released successful 1937. But spam, unwanted messages oregon email, got its sanction from that Monty Python sketch wherever the connection “spam” is sung repeatedly to drown retired dialogue. Calling repeated/unwanted messages “spam” seems to person travel from aboriginal chat programs utilized successful the 1970s, but the archetypal documented usage was successful 1990. Someone archived a treatment connected a multi idiosyncratic dungeon astir the root of the connection “spam.” The archetypal documented commercialized spam message was an advertisement for a caller exemplary of Digital Equipment Corporation computers. It was sent connected ARPANET successful 1978 and 393 radical were spammed successful the incident.

Friend: Using “friend” arsenic a verb goes backmost to the aboriginal 13th century, but it meant thing similar “to enactment arsenic a person to” arsenic opposed to “making friends with someone,” and its usage fell retired of favor. The modern meaning is much similar “befriend” and dates backmost to aboriginal societal media networks similar MySpace, wherever Tom friended everyone.

Text: Using “text” arsenic a verb is truthful ubiquitous, it’s hard to judge it’s lone been wide utilized since astir the aboriginal 2000s. The oldest quality of “texting” (meaning “to nonstop a substance message”) online was successful 1998, though “text” meaning “to inscribe, write, oregon people successful a text-hand oregon successful superior oregon ample letters” dates backmost to the 1500s.

Gamer-specific words and their definitions

Nerf: When developers reconfigure a crippled constituent to marque it little powerful, it is said to beryllium “nerfed.” Example: “I can’t judge they nerfed Luigi successful Super Smash Bros. 4!” From the foam football.

Buff: The other of “nerf.” Buffing is erstwhile crippled devs marque a crippled constituent much powerful. It’s besides utilized successful PRGs and MMORPGS to picture a temporary, player-given boost.

Camping: Finding an advantageous presumption successful a shooter crippled and conscionable staying there. Whether you deliberation this is simply a morganatic maneuver depends connected whether oregon not you’re a camper.

Easter egg: Hidden content. In the precocious 1970s, an Atari programmer included his sanction successful a concealed conception of the crippled Adventure! and didn’t archer anyone. An Atari enforcement called it an Easter ovum for players to find, and the sanction stuck. It present tin notation to thing hidden successful immoderate benignant of media.

Grind: Performing repetitive tasks successful a crippled to summation immoderate vantage (eventually).

Mod: An altercation of a crippled by fans oregon amateur developers. It’s abbreviated for “modification.”

Smurf: Higher level subordinate making a little level alt successful bid to thwart match-making features and smash noobs. This dates backmost to the 1990s and a mates of Warcraft II players who chose “PapaSmurf” and “Smurfette” for their low-level characters.