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Word for Wednesday: Stream

It would be interesting to ask different people what their first association with the word stream is. For me, the first thing that comes to mind is Netflix. Others, I’m sure, will think of small narrow rivers, or associate the word with the flow of people or air or smoke. Literary friends might think of stream of consciousness. 

In Old English, stream referred to a ‘course of water’ and in the twelfth century, the word started being used to describe ‘anything issuing from a source and flowing continuously’. 

Stream isn’t the only water-related word that has been borrowed in reference to technology – in the early days of the internet, the verb ‘surf’ was used to describe going online. With streaming sites like Netflix more popular than ever – 40 million households watched Stranger Things in the four days after the third season was launched – it looks like the modern meaning of the word will stick around for some time yet. 

Here at Spellzone, we love seeing how the English languages adapts and evolves to better fit the world it’s used to describe and we can’t wait to watch how it changes over years to come. 

10 Jul 2019
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Teacher, High School, UK