8 min read

Why is it called email?

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Published on
May 2, 2023

Electronic mail, commonly known as email, is one of the most widely used forms of digital communication in the modern world. It has revolutionized the way we interact with one another, making it possible to send messages across the globe instantly. However, have you ever wondered how email got its name? In this article, we will explore the history of email and discover how it came to be known as "email."

Origins of Email

The concept of sending messages electronically dates back to the early 1960s when computer engineers developed a system called "mailboxes" for users of time-sharing computers. These mailboxes allowed users to send messages to one another within a single computer system. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that the first email system, called "ARPANET," was created.

ARPANET, which stands for Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was a government-funded computer network that connected researchers across the United States. In 1971, a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson was working on ARPANET when he came up with the idea of sending messages between different computers. He created a program called "CYPNET" that allowed users to send messages from one computer to another. This program was the first email system ever created.

Naming the New System

After developing the first email system, Tomlinson needed to give it a name. He considered several options, including "mail" and "netmail." However, he eventually settled on "email," which he believed was a more straightforward and intuitive name for the new system. The name "email" stuck, and it has been used to describe electronic mail ever since.

Why "Email"?

The word "email" is a combination of two words: "electronic" and "mail." "Electronic" refers to the digital nature of the communication, while "mail" is a term that has been used for centuries to describe written communication sent through a postal service.

The use of the term "mail" to describe electronic communication is not a new concept. In the early days of the internet, before email became widespread, computer scientists used the term "mail" to describe digital messages sent between users of the same computer system. As email became more popular, the term "email" was adopted to differentiate it from other forms of digital communication, such as chat rooms and instant messaging.

In conclusion, the term "email" was coined in the early days of computer communication to describe the electronic transmission of messages. While several other names were considered, "email" was chosen for its simplicity and intuitiveness. Today, email is an essential part of our daily lives, and it has become one of the most efficient ways to communicate with others, no matter where they are in the world.

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