It is less than a year since the term intranet was coined to mean an internal or corporate network based on Internet technology. But already a term that sounds very much like its antonym has been invented. The word extranet is obviously formed from the Latin prefix extra-, “outside”, plus “Net”, and this gives the clue to its sense. Whereas intranets are used internally to boost corporate efficiency, extranets are used externally to improve communication between the organisation, its suppliers and its customers without prejudicing its electronic security. An example is the FedEx system, which allows customers to place orders and interrogate FedEx’s computers to find out where their packages have got to. The word came to wider public attention when IBM used it to describe its huge (and, alas, flawed) system for distributing information at the Atlanta Olympics. The word may be new but the concept certainly isn’t, and already there have been complaints that such neologisms are hindering understanding and muddying straightforward concepts with artificial distinctions.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
By hook or by crook; Polish off; Loggerhead; Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!