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How Did the Word Dongle Ever Come Into Existence?

How Did the Word Dongle Ever Come Into Existence?

How Did the Word Dongle Ever Come Into Existence?

Chances are high that there is a dongle somewhere in your home or office.

In fact, there might even be one plugged into the computer you are using to read this article right now.

What is a dongle? Well, that’s an easy one to answer: A dongle is a catch-all term for self-contained devices you plug in to your computer—think USB drives, firewire, HDMI cables, et cetera. 

But why do we call these things a dongle? Well, that’s where it gets a bit more complicated.

The first known recorded use of the word “dongle” appeared in a 1981 issue of New Scientist. Since then, it’s been widely used among both techies and average computer users—in fact, the word was even once at the center of a Silicon Valley scandal. 

But while many theories exist, there’s no exact consensus as to where the word “dongle” came from. That said, here are some of the most popular stories about dongle etymology. 

Phonetic Theories 

Three different theories about the origins of the word “dongle” all rely on common sense and phonetics to explain the word.

For starters, some believe that “dongle” is a sort of sound symbolism.

If it’s been a while since you took a high school English class, sound symbolism is when a word itself carries some connection to the thing or action it is describing. For example, the word “sizzle” makes the same izzz sound as a sizzling skillet of fajitas, and when you gurgle water, it sounds like you might be saying “gurgle.” 

While most dongles don’t necessarily make a lot of noise, the way they hang off the sides of your computer suggests a sort of frivolity. And the word “dongle” is about as frivolous as you can get in terms of gadget names.

There’s another straightforward phonetic theory about dongle’s origins: It’s a variation on the word “dangle.” That would make sense, considering dongles like USB drives and fcc id prdrx0a do dangle off of computers and smartphones.

A branch off of the “dangle” theory is a bit more not-safe-for-work, though probable. This theory posits that “dongle” is an amalgamation of “dong” and “dangle,” because of how some dongles can resemble penises.

Finally, we have a theory that’s actually a bit of a non-theory, and can be found in many dictionary definitions of the word. This theory asserts that the word “dongle” was simply made up by a person for unknown, probably random, reasons, and the usage caught on. 

Dongle Origin Stories

In addition to theories that have to do with the structure of the word itself, there are also several dynamic dongle origin stories that are fun to consider.

One of these theories can be traced back to an internet chat board dedicated to tracing the word’s origin. One user posted that he had first encountered the word “dongle” on a college entrance exam in the 1970s—before the first known usage in the 1980s.

The exam question related to technology, but used “dongle” as an arbitrary, hypothetical tool. Still, the poster of this theory thinks it’s possible that someone—or many people—who took that exam might have inadvertently remembered the word and used it conversation, and it took off from there.

It might seem implausible that a word could spread so widely this way. But all it would take is one technology thought leader to make the word spread throughout the tech world, so it’s certainly possible that “dongle” started this way.

Another common idea about the word “dongle” can easily be proven false, but it persists nonetheless.

This theory comes from a 1992 magazine advertisement from a company called Rainbow Technologies. The ad claims that the word “dongle’ is named after a fictional inventor named Don Gall.

Both Rainbow Technologies executives and the creatives responsible for the ad are clear that Don Gall is not a real person, and the ad was meant to be nothing more than entertaining. However, because this advertisement was the first explanation of the word “dongle” that many people came across, the myth of Don Gall persists to this day. 

Why “Dongle” Shows How Language Works

It might seem strange that many theories exist about how “dongle” came into existence, and that we can’t know for sure which one is true—or if several of them might be true at once.

But the truth is, this actually makes “dongle” similar to many words in the English language, and in languages all over the world. There isn’t one person or group that decides which words mean what—rather, language is a constantly evolving process, and its roots can’t always be neatly tracked.

The different theories of where “dongle” came from actually correlate with the different English word-origin models used by linguists. For example, there is a theory about “dongle” that is essentially “novel creation,” or the idea that some words are created whole-cloth. 

Another common word-origin paradigm is folk etymology, in which urban legends about a word’s existence supersede more straightforward explanations. Doesn’t that remind of Don Gall and the Rainbow Technologies ad?

Linguists use “blending,” meanwhile, to acknowledge that many words are the combination of two or more different words—like “dongle” being a cross between “dong” and “dangle,” for example.

Expanding Usage 

Another popular term coined by linguists is “semantic broadening.” This phrase is used to describe the way in which a word’s definition can broaden over time to include more and more things.

While “dongle” started out referring only to USB drives and other self-contained devices, the word can now apply to virtually anything you plug into your computer or smartphone. In fact, when Apple converted to wireless headphone technology in iPhones, people started calling the lightning converter cord required for traditional headphone use “dongles.” 

Language Works In Unexpected Ways

“Dongle” might seem like a silly word, and the origin theories, in turn, can be a bit humorous to consider.

But beyond the frivolity, “dongle” is a modern example of a phenomenon that’s been in existence since humans first started forming languages. And as technology changes and humans continue to invent language, the usage of “dongle” will likely continue to evolve. 

If you want to learn more about the unexpected ways language works, check out more articles on our blog. 


Getting the Word Out: How to Make a Brochure Without the Stress

Getting the Word Out: How to Make a Brochure Without

Getting the Word Out: How to Make a Brochure Without the Stress

Are you launching a new business? Or perhaps looking to introduce a new product or service? Though there are modern ways to get the word out, some traditional methods remain timeless.

Despite the presence of social media and other digital options, the brochure continues to do wonders for businesses. Brochures help create engagement between companies and their respective target markets. They also attract potential customers by piquing their interest.

For businesses to survive in a cutthroat world, every advantage counts. When crafting brochures, you need to cover all bases.

You need to learn how to make a brochure the right way. 

Continue reading below as we teach you how to make one without the hassle.

Why Your Business Needs Brochures

Before we proceed, you must first realize the need to use brochures. We mentioned earlier that brochures help catch the attention of people. It also connects you with prospective clients.

But beyond those things, brochures also increase your brand’s credibility. They help you earn and build the trust of your target market. Printed materials send the signal that you are willing to invest in your customers.

They show that you are serious about what you are doing.

Furthermore, brochures allow you to personalize your business. Whenever a person reads your brochure, you are conversing with them through the brochure’s text.

Social media presence is great, but adding brochures in your marketing strategies will further strengthen your control of the market.

How to Make a Brochure Via Microsoft Publisher

With a little help from Microsoft Publisher, you can create a brochure that you can be proud of. Begin by choosing a brochure design that you want. Microsoft Publisher carries designs and templates based on the goal you are looking to achieve.

1. Choosing the Design

If you are using Publisher 2010, head on to Available Templates. Select “Brochures” then pick a design from the brochure templates. If you wish to zoom closer into the designs, simply click on the images and a larger version will pop on the right portion of the screen.

2. Pick a Panel

Next, decide on how many panels you want to use for your brochure. Head on to the Page size section. Choose between “3-panel” or “4-panel.”

The key to determining the number of panels you need is to try it out first on a physical paper. Fold a sheet of paper according to the size that you want.

3. To Mail or Hand Over?

Decide if you want to mail the brochure or hand them directly to your customers. If you wish to mail them, make room for a panel space to write the mailing and return address.

If you prefer to distribute them in person, then you can do away with the panel space. But you want to save a small area for your company name and address. To do this, tick the “include customer box” in Publisher.

4. Forms for Information

One way of securing customer information is to insert forms in your brochures. Hit the Forms dropdown menu to check your options. You can choose Order form, Sign-up form, Response form, or None.

5. Pick a Font and Color

Regardless of the template you choose, it will come with a default font and color scheme. But you can change them by choosing from the Font Scheme and Color Scheme dropdowns. 

If you wish to create a new color theme, simply choose “Create new.” The same thing goes for the font.

6. Put in Your Company Information, Then “Create”

Head on to the Business Information dropdown to input your company information. You may also click “Create New.” 

Complete the process by clicking the “Create” button. You can find this at the bottom portion of the task pane. Make sure to print out a copy to get an idea of what the brochure looks like when you’re holding it.

How to Make a Brochure Via Microsoft Word

You also have the option to create a brochure via Microsoft Word. You can do so by using a template or create one from scratch.

But let’s stick to using templates since it is the easiest route to take. Here’s how you do it:

1. Menu, Then Brochure

Open Microsoft Word and type the word “Brochure” in the search bar. You will find the search bar at the top-right portion of the screen. Once you hit enter, Word will load the different brochure templates available.

2. Pick a Template

Next, pick a template that best suits your company. Keep in mind the colors of your brand. Don’t go for a template that clashes with your branding.

Double-click your selection to open the template.

3. Customize

After opening the template, you can customize it by adding your content. The good thing about Microsoft Word is it allows you to tweak the colors, sizes, and fonts of the brochure.

You may find the orientation of the templates confusing especially if it is your first time. Keep in mind that the first page features the back and front portion of the brochure. It also includes the inside flap.

Meanwhile, the second page comes with the inside left, the inside middle, and the inside right portions.

4. Save and Print

After finalizing your template, go to File and hit Save As to save your work. When it comes to printing, never skimp. Look for top-notch print finishing machines for that elegant finish.

Create the Best Marketing Materials Possible

Learning how to make a brochure goes a long way. It will create more exposure for your brand. It also helps you connect with more people.

But you shouldn’t stop with brochures.

Check out our other articles on marketing and advertising strategies. We offer tips and tricks that will keep you two steps ahead of the competition.