13 Words the internet has given us

The internet has changed everything about our lives, even how we speak. English is one of the most spoken languages and it’s the number one used on the internet. So it is only normal that we have new words added to the dictionary to keep up with the constant changes in our society. This is a list of the words that were created and spread thanks to the internet. All the definitions were taken from the Oxford dictionaries online.

1. Selfie

Definition: noun. A photograph that you take of yourself, usually with a mobile phone or webcam and shared via social media.


  • You should see the selfies all the people traipsing around America are taking these days.
  • That photo was listed on Popular Science’s photo gallery of the best astronaut selfies.


The first known use of the word selfie was in 2002 by an Australian. The 21-year-old wrote, on an Australian forum, about being drunk at a party and how he tripped and cut his lip uploading a photo of it. The exact words were “… And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie”. However, it is common knowledge that in Australian English it is normal to shorten words using “ie”, for example, “Barbie” instead of barbecue.

The use of the word has only picked up from there. In 2013, it was selected as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. According to Search Engine Journal, the use of the word has increased by 17,000% since 2012. By 2018, 93 million selfies are posted per day and 1 selfie is posted on Instagram every second.

Three words you can use instead of Selfie are self-portrait, self-taken photo, and self-picture.

2. Phablet

Definition: noun. A smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.


  • Whether the Note 2 should be called a phone or a tablet is a moot point, but as yet, it’s essentially the only phablet on the market.
  • The new phablet will be sold in the same way as a smartphone.


It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment this word was first used on the internet. But, if you do your research on google trends, the term started being search around 2012 and it reached its peak in September 2014. Also, according to an article on PC Magazine, the first known phablet was the Android-based Dell Streak in 2010. And LG applied to trademark the phablet name in 2011. Now, almost every phone is a “phablet” because companies reach to improve the user experience with bigger phones. Maybe, this word will be lost in time pretty soon.

3. Meme

Definition: noun. An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.


  • You can find any type of meme on the internet, or make it yourself with a simple image editor.
  • The word-of-mouth spread of any given meme is another aspect of how Internet fame differs from the traditional celebrity.


The first mention of this word or a variation of  it was in a book wrote by Richard Dawkins in 1976. He made a combination of the Greek word “Mimeme” and gene, which describes a form of transmission for an idea. But, the word transformed to what we know as the internet meme in 1994 when Mike Godwin in an op-ed titled “Meme, Counter-Meme”.

The first popular meme that spread through the internet was a 3D rendering of a baby dancing made by graphic designer Michael Girard in 1996.

4. Derp

Definition: exclamation. Used as a substitute for speech regarded as meaningless or stupid, or to comment on a foolish or stupid action.

Noun. Foolishness or stupidity.


  • Richard, a student at the school, took the initiative on his own to make sure that future classes aren’t subjected to that level of derp.
  • Good post, although I suspect it’s going to have a lot of derp in the comments when the other side sees it.


Believe or not the first use of this word was in a film in 1996. The movie, called Baseketball, was made by the creators of South Park. They used it on a scene where they got caught smelling women underwear. Later, they used it on an episode of South Park in 1999 when they introduced a new character called “Mr. Derp”. After this, the internet memes took charge and spread it all over.

These are some words you can use instead of derp are stupid, absurd, moronic and nonsense.

5. Unlike

Definition: verb. Withdraw one’s approval of or support for (someone or something one has previously liked) by means of an icon or link.


  • The only way they can find out that you unlikedtheir page is if they go and stalk you on their admin page.
  • These are the questions page owners ask themselves when they see their Like counts dropping — especially now that unliking a page is harder than it used to be.


The word Unlike really originated from the like button on social media. This button first appearance was in 2007 in FriendFeed a social aggregator site. However, the feature didn’t make it to the headlines until Facebook implemented it in 2009. The proposition started as an “awesome” button but later turned into a “like” button. Therefore, the word Unlike referred to the action of retracting your previous like of a post.

6. Tweet

Definition: noun. A post made on the social media application Twitter.

Verb. Make a post on the social media application Twitter.


  • He started posting tweets via his mobile phone to let his parents know he was safe.
  • He tweeted that he would be willing to take a lie detector test.


This word comes from Twitter, the social media site. Twitter was launched in 2006, and at first, the posting process was called “twittering”. Later in 2007, they started calling them “twits”. Finally, the word Tweet first appeared on the company’s website in 2008. From there, it is the commonly used word to refer to a post on this social media platform.


Definition: noun. Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.


  • While FOMO has been a constant companion of mine, it has never been as powerful as it is right now.
  • I have a serious case of FOMO that is incommensurate with my age.


FOMO is an abbreviation of “Fear Of Missing Out”. This term was created by a marketing strategist in 2000, he wrote a paper about it and called it “the ailment of our cultural moment”. With the creation of the internet, the world has reached a new level of connection. Now people can see what others are doing on the opposite side of the planet, this led to people experiencing this type of anxiety. Summing this with the fact that most people only post about their happiest times, we have the constant fear that our life is not exciting enough.

8. GIF

Definition: noun. A lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images.


  • I made a GIF the other day with a chicken dancing.
  • You can convert that video into a GIF.


GIF means Graphics Interchange Format. This was first introduced in June 1987 by CompuServe, an online server provider. This format was created to provide color images and a more efficient system for their file downloading areas. Then, in 1995 they introduced the loop quality to the animated GIFs. Nowadays, a lot of the best memes are in GIF format.

9. Photobomb

Definition: Verb. Spoil a photograph of (a person or thing) by unexpectedly appearing in the camera’s field of view as the picture is taken, typically as a prank or practical joke.

Noun. A photograph that has been spoiled by the unexpected appearance of an unintended subject in the camera’s field of view as the picture was taken.


  • My sister photobombed a picture of me and my friends.
  • Animal photobombs are hilarious, they make a boring picture into something post-worthy.


The word first appearance was in 2008 when it was added to the Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary of slang words and phrases. Some people suggested that it was taken from the term “google bomb” that referred to an unrelated result for a particular search on Google.

10. Sext

Definition: verb. Send (someone) sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

Noun. A sexually explicit photograph or message sent via mobile phone.


  • Sexting has become quite popular among young adults and teenagers nowadays.
  • Some boys send sexts even when you don’t ask for them, it’s rude and derp.


It has its first appearance in Canada’s The Globe and Mail in 2004, they posted an article about David Beckham sending explicit text messages to his assistant. However, its first mainstream media appearance was in 2005 in the Los Angeles Times. In 2008, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy published a report that showed that 20% of teenagers have sent nude pictures of themselves. This made the word appear on every parents’ mind and made the term a common one around the English speakers.

11. Noob

Definition: noun. A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the Internet.


  • Don’t take it personally when you get called a noob by the more experienced players, just try to laugh it off.
  • I realize that most of you are more experienced programmers, but please give the noob a break.


This word is a contraction of the word “Newby”. Some people believe that the first mention of the word Noob was in the 1980s on a Usenet newsgroup. Later, the word was spread between computer programmers who wrote it “n00b”. Nowadays, it is commonly used among gamers, forums, and many other communities on the internet.

12. Troll

Definition: verb. Make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.

Noun. A person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post.


  • After this idea was posted on the blog, the number of trolls diminished to almost zero.
  • Flaming and trolling have been part of internet interaction probably for nearly as long as there has been the internet.


Nobody knows when was the first usage of this word on the internet. But, the first reference that was found by Oxford Dictionaries is from 1992, on a Usenet group alt.folklore.urban. The wording was “Maybe after I post it, we could go trolling some more and see what happens.”. Normally, when people search for the definition of the word there are numerous results but the internet troll is a constant.  This word has spread so fast that now, it is used in several languages and not only in English.

13. Hashtag

Definition: noun. A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and apps, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.


  • The canonical example of a hashmob emerged a few days ago around the hashtag #amazonfail.
  • They will use Twitter and SMS with the hashtag #votereport to collect reports on voting, now during early voting and through election day next week.


The hashtag was first used by Chris Messina on twitter in 2007. He posted  “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #bar camp [msg]?”. However, Twitter didn’t add it to their website until after its massive use on the 2007 California forest fires. Later in 2009, Twitter started to add hyperlinks that led to other search results. In 2010, the company added the trending topic feature which displayed the most searched hashtags. In the last few years, other companies like Facebook or Instagram have adopted the use of the hashtag to make searches more easy for the users.

What do you think?

Are these words here to stay? Or is this a degradation of our language? Which of these words have you used before? Which is the worst addition? Leave a comment below of what you think about it.



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