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CYBERBULLY

noun; compounding
One who bullies, harasses or picks on a person through computers and other electronic means. Especially used to refer to harassment of those less able to defend themselves against such attacks. ('That cyberbully bugs me every time I go online.') The writer was attempting to describe a person who picks on and harasses others using computers and other electronic forms of communication. 'bully' describes such a person, but it is commonly understood to mean physical harassment. The prefix 'cyber-' was needed to distinguish bullying through computers from physical bullying. Although the two types of bullying are similar in what is occurring, the methods used by the bullies are completely different, thus the need for the distinction provided by 'cyber-'. 'cyber-' appears to have become a prefix meaning 'with or involving computers' in current usage. This is evidenced by such words as 'cybersex' and 'cyberpunk'. It came to be a prefix through a clipping of 'cybernetic', which is an adjective referring to communications and control in systems. These systems are not necessarily electronic, though that is the most widely understood meaning. When this clipping was combined with other words, it has gradually come to be recognized as a prefix rather than an entire root. The root 'bully' is most widely understood to mean 'one who picks on others, especially those who are less able to defend themselves'. This is in fact the meaning using in this formation. In this meaning, it primarily denotes physical attacks and harassment. This is why the 'cyber-' prefix has been added.
 
...cyberbullies are pursuing their quarries into their own bedrooms...
Etymology : 'cyber-' a prefix formed from a clipping of 'cybernetic' + 'bully' referring to the harassment aspect
Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/26/education/26bully.html
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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