When Twitter was set up, its founders considered a few names before settling on a word popularised in English by the poet Chaucer and meaning a short, inconsequential burst of information like that birds transmit in a chirp. Photo: AFP
When Twitter was set up, its founders considered a few names before settling on a word popularised in English by the poet Chaucer and meaning a short, inconsequential burst of information like that birds transmit in a chirp. Photo: AFP
Lisa Lim
Opinion

Opinion

Language Matters by Lisa Lim

From Chaucer via Jitter and Twitch, how Twitter got its name – and why posts were called tweets, not twits

  • When Twitter’s founders sought a name for the platform, they considered Jitter and Twitch before settling on ‘twitter’, first used in English by Chaucer
  • Posts on Twitter were at first called Twitterings; shortening this to twit, meaning a jibe or a fool, wasn’t on, hence tweet. Dictionary editors soon took note

When Twitter was set up, its founders considered a few names before settling on a word popularised in English by the poet Chaucer and meaning a short, inconsequential burst of information like that birds transmit in a chirp. Photo: AFP
When Twitter was set up, its founders considered a few names before settling on a word popularised in English by the poet Chaucer and meaning a short, inconsequential burst of information like that birds transmit in a chirp. Photo: AFP
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