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youtube

verb; zero derivation
to look up or search for a video on the website called ‘You Tube’ (www.youtube.com)
 
The proper noun of the website ‘YouTube’ is a compound of the words ‘you’ and ‘tube.’ The compound was most likely formed when the website was created as a way to name the site. The name was probably selected because it incorporates the idea of ‘you,’ the viewer of the site, being able to broadcast and view videos as if the site were a ‘tube,’ meaning ‘television’ in this sense. Thus, the noun sense of ‘Youtube’ has probably been around since the origin of the website; however, through zero derivation, recently a verb sense of ‘youtube’ formed. Through the process of metonymy, the action of searching for a video on Youtube has come to be represented by just the name of the website. Initially, people probably used a phrase like ‘look up on Youtube’ or ‘search for on Youtube’ to discuss the action of using the website, but now that appears to have been reduced to simply ‘youtube.’
Etymology : ‘You’ is the English second person singular pronoun. Its origin can be traced to the Old English ‘eow,’ which was the dative and accusative plural of ‘þu,’ and then to the objective case of ‘ge’ meaning ‘ye’ from West Germanic. ‘Tube’ is from the Latin ‘tubus’ meaning ‘tube, pipe.’ The meaning of ‘tube’ as ‘television’ originated in 1959 as a shortening of the terms ‘cathode ray tube’ or ‘picture tube.’
Source : ‘Just you-tube it. They have everything on there’ (conversation with a friend, November 2008)
Last modified: 5 December 2008


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