An Internet glossary

Nov. 1, 1999
Cyberspace seems to have its own language. You need to learn some of these terms in order to understand what is going on out there. So, in simple English, here are some translations of some common words you will encounter on-line:

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS

Cyberspace seems to have its own language. You need to learn some of these terms in order to understand what is going on out there. So, in simple English, here are some translations of some common words you will encounter on-line:


A mini-program or application, usually written in Java language or Active-X. The applets run on your browser program and are used with features ranging from animations, to on-line games, to calculators.


This measures how much data you can send to and from your computer and how fast this transfer takes place. A higher bandwidth means you can download and upload files and Web sites faster. A very high bandwidth is known as a broadband connection.


Smallest unit used to measure a computer file and memory. 1 Byte = 8 bits; 1 Kilobyte(kB) = 1000 bytes; 1 Megabyte (mB) = 1000 kilobytes; 1 Gigabyte(gB) = 1000 megabytes; 1 Tetrabyte = 1000 gigabytes


A direct link to a site that you like to visit. You save these on your browser and merely click on the title to visit that site again.


This is short for robot. It performs a function on the Web automatically or electronically. An example of this is a shopping Web site that electronically seeks out the best price of an item you are searching for.


This is the software program that allows you to work on the World Wide Web. Examples of this are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.


This is information that is saved on your computer. It is high-speed memory that your computer sets aside to store frequently accessed data. Browser programs cache Web pages so that they load more quickly when you revisit them.

Chat Area:

These are sites for live on-line conversation.


A Web site that has not been updated recently.


A programming code from a Web site you have visited that is stored on your hard drive. When you access that site again, the cookie is sent back to the site and your preferences are already loaded in. You can turn off cookies if you do not want this information collected.

Domain Name or URL:

This is the universal resource locator. It is the Internet address you type into your browser to take you to that site.


This occurs when you go on-line and bring a file from a Web site onto your computer.


This stands for "hypertext markup language." It is the programming language used for most Web pages.


This is another word for link. It usually is a Web-site address that is underlined and shown in another color. Click on it and you are transported to that page.


This stands for "Internet Service Provider." These are the people who provide you with Internet access for a monthly fee. Some are large national companies; others are local companies.

Message Board:

People post, read, and respond to messages listed by others. They also are known as "newsgroups."


Someone new to using the Internet or computers.


These are programs that you add on to your browser to enhance its capabilities. They are applications that let you hear live audio feeds and view live video clips. Some examples of plug-ins are Real Audio and Shockwave.


This is a computer that controls a network of other computers.


This is software that you can try before paying for it. You download a version to try it and pay a fee to keep it working. This differs from "freeware" that you download and use for no cost at all.


Mail: Mail sent the conventional way - i.e., the U.S. Postal Service.


Unsolicited and unwanted e-mail.


Audio or video that plays on your computer as it is being transmitted over the Internet.


A program that is hidden in a file or e-mail that can alter or delete files in your computer.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesperson and critical-issue-response-team chairperson for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His Web-site address is Contact him by e-mail at [email protected], by phone at (314) 567-5612, or fax at (314) 567-9047.

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