…not the phenomenon, but the word itself.
I first heard it about ten years ago, coined by one of Britain’s finest comic minds (a fact most Brits do not GET) – Jeremy Clarkson. About that time, he also dreamed up the word “footballist”.
I immediately understood. By deliberately “degrammatising” (if that’s not a word, it should be) these terms, he was showing his disinterest and disdain for them.
And I was in total agreement. Football is a pointless affair (LITERALLY – the perfect “result” is nil-nil) and in those days, most of the fun sites we now take for granted on the Internet (including THIS one) did not exist – or at least, were in their infancy.
(WordPress: 2003, Wikipedia: 2001, YouTube: 2005, Facebook: 2004, Twitter: 2006 – even Google didn’t really take off until 2004).
Thus when Clarkson first used the word, the Interweb was a waste of space. Its users were nerds and its content was mostly just corporate ads (the things you PASS BY, in magazines) plus trivia sites (like IMDb and Snopes) and jackass material.
But did Jeremy actually INVENT the word Interweb?
Well, my research ON this medium suggests – no. It appears a number of people may have coined it earlier (one source lists its origin as “disputed”).
But the word being in a sense OBVIOUS, its real originator is the person who first DISSEMINATED it. And given the world-wide millions who watch “Top Gear” – I think that determines its parentage.
In fact, another source I found backs that up. Collins: “Interweb – a facetious name for the internet, used to imply that the speaker has little understanding of or interest in the subject.”
And since Clarkson began primarily as a journalist, the knowledge that it is HE who is responsible for a word now being used by MILLIONS – should give him a warm feeling in his (ample) tummy.