Merriam-Webster adds ‘net neutrality’


The Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary is adding a number of new tech terms to its latest edition, including “meme,” “emoji,” and finally “net neutrality” after a years-long fight over the concept at the Federal Communications Commission.

The concept is one of more than 1,700 new entries that Merriam-Webster announced this week. Hundreds of different senses of existing words and thousands of new contextual examples were added as well. 

{mosads}Net neutrality is defined as “the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.”

The FCC attempted to codify that principle this year by approving sweeping rules to reclassify broadband Internet under authority governing traditional telephones. 

That change allowed the commission to write rules to prevent companies like Comcast or Verizon from slowing or blocking Internet traffic from any website. It would also prevent those companies from negotiating deals with websites willing, or able, to pay for priority access. 

The term was coined by Columbia University law professor Tim Wu in a scholarly article in 2003. Despite common usage in the public, the term net neutrality has been largely avoided at the FCC, which instead uses the term “open Internet” to refer to the principle. 

Merriam-Webster also included other words like “emoji,” defined as any small image or icon used in electronic communication, and “meme,” which is “any idea behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

Also in the dictionary is “sharing economy,” referring to the proliferation of companies like Airbnb or Uber that help sell the “temporary access to goods or services.”

Merriam-Webster also now features the words “click fraud,” and “clickbait.”

Tags Merriam-Webster Net neutrality

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