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What is etymology ?

The etymology of "radio" or "radiotelegraphy" reveals that it was called "wireless telegraphy," which was shortened to "wireless" in Britain. The prefix radio- in the sense of wireless transmission, was first recorded in the word radioconductor, a description provided by the French physicist Édouard Branly in 1897. It is based on the verb to radiate (in Latin "radius" means "spoke of a wheel, beam of light, ray").

The word "radio" also appears in a 1907 article by Lee De Forest. It was adopted by the United States Navy in 1912, to distinguish radio from several other "wireless" communication technologies in use at the time, such as the photophone. The term became common by the time of the first commercial broadcasts in the United States in the 1920s. (The noun "broadcasting" itself came from an agricultural term, meaning "scattering seeds widely.") The term was adopted by other languages in Europe and Asia. British Commonwealth countries continued to commonly use the term "wireless" until the mid-20th century, though the magazine of the BBC in the UK has been called Radio Times ever since it was first published in the early 1920s.

In recent years the term "wireless" has gained renewed popularity through the rapid growth of short-range computer networking, e.g., Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as mobile telephony, e.g., GSM and UMTS. Today, the term "radio" often refers to the actual transceiver device or chip, whereas "wireless" refers to the system and/or method used for radio communication; hence one talks about radio transceivers and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), but about wireless devices and wireless sensor networks.

June 28, 2012
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