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This is one of computing’s current buzzwords. An intranet is a communications network built using the same system as the Internet and employing many of the same tools, particularly World Wide Web browsers. The difference is that the intranet is private and internal to a company. The word is new enough that its meaning has not yet quite settled down — some usages imply that an intranet can also be connected to the Internet, or make use of Internet circuits, others stress its total separation behind protective barriers (firewalls). Their advocates argue that the value of intranets lies in their comparative simplicity, replacing proprietary systems with a limited number of widely-used and supported techniques, and also point to their potential for boosting productivity by enhancing the ability of staff to work together. The word is formed from the prefix intra-, “on the inside, within”, plus net, a common abbreviated form of “network”.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 27 Jul. 1996

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-int1.htm
Last modified: 27 July 1996.