With Google’s Chromecast giving the AV world something other than 4K to talk about for at least fifteen minutes, you’re probably seeing the word “dongle” pop up on your favorite tech pages more than usual as of late. But honestly, dongles are everywhere in the computer and streaming AV world. You’ve got your Wi-Fi dongles, your Roku Stick, USB flash drives — chances are, you’re going to touch a dongle at some point today.
The thing is, if you’re giggling at that statement, you may be onto something.
The Atlantic has a new piece up this week exploring the origins of the word “dongle,” and, well… I’ll just leave this here:
Here’s Dave Wilton with what I’d call the leading theory on “dongle”:
“The word is most likely a blend of dong and dangle, as it can resemble a penis that hangs off a computer.”
Of course, that’s not the — ahem — long and short of it. The story also lists several alternative ideas, ranging from poetic origins (similar to the way the quark got its name), to vowel shift, to Steven Pinker’s theories on phonesthesia from his book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.
Head over to the source story for more thoughts on the possible origins of this relatively new, but utterly ubiquitous word.