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break the Internet

1. slang To post something on the Internet that triggers intense and widespread online interest and reaction. I can't believe that video of our puppy lounging on a pool float practically broke the Internet! Say what you will about Kim Kardashian, but she has at least one talent—breaking the Internet.
2. To disrupt an Internet connection. A: "Did you touch the router? Something's broken the Internet." B: "Oh, I must have jostled the router cords while I was vacuuming."
3. To overwhelm a web server so much that it crashes. Such a crash can be caused by a cyberattack or a large increase in traffic. Our site's down again. Hackers have been trying to break the Internet all weekend. The store's website has been unavailable since they announced their sale on Friday, when millions of people tried to access it simultaneously and broke the Internet.
4. To cause the Internet to stop working properly. You can't break the Internet, Grandpa, although clicking madly like that might cause some issues for your laptop.
See also: break, internet

channel surfing

The frequent changing of channels when watching television, especially for an extended period of time. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. I hate channel surfing. I can't understand why people don't just pick a program and watch it!
See also: channel, surfing


An intentionally incorrect pluralization of "Internet" used for comedic effect. A: "Where did you hear about this?" B: "Oh, on the Internets, so it's you know it's true!"
See also: Internet

on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

A phrase that highlights the anonymous nature of online correspondence. It originally appeared in a cartoon by Peter Steiner. A: "I can't say something that mean, even to a stranger." B: "Oh, sure you can! On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."
See also: dog, know, nobody, on

scour (something or some place) for (someone or something)

To search thoroughly inside of or all around some place or thing for someone or something. I've been scouring the internet for information about this strange new app my kids are using. We scoured the warehouse for evidence, but we couldn't find anything that would hold up in court.
See also: for, scour
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

channel surfing

Switching from one television station (channel) to another frequently, either to search for an interesting program or to keep track of several programs at once. For example, What did you see on TV last night?-Nothing much; I was just channel surfing. The term transfers the surfer's search for good waves to the viewer's search for programs. This practice became widespread with the use of remote-control devices for changing channels while remaining seated some distance from the television set. [1980s] A 1990s version is Internet surfing, a similar process for searching cyberspace.
See also: channel, surfing
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

channel surfing

See also: channel, surfing
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
In order to understand the use of Internet-based consumer health information by vulnerable groups, it is helpful to look at current research and data on specific information behaviors and Internet use by two special communities--the elderly and African Americans.
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Virtually all of Will's current teachers at Gunn High School in Palo Alto are at least somewhat literate in computers and the Internet. Many are quite savvy.
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Wildstrom in an article in the July 17 issue of Business Week, "The War for the Net's Future." In the article, Wildstrom writes, "The Center for Democracy & Technology (, a think tank on tech issues, argues for an approach that preserves the open nature of today's Internet while creating space for premium networks.
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Paul Foster, NTP Liaison and Scientific Review Office, PO Box 12233, MD A3-01, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA, 919-541-2513, e-mail:, Internet:
In the October 25 Deseret Morning News, Representative Chris Cannon (R-Utah) noted that the Internet's "potential contributions to economic growth in less developed countries dwarf anything the United Nations could conceivably provide." Yet "there is no other country on the face of the earth whose government would have had the restraint to permit the freedom of thought and action that has produced the present benefits and future promise of the Internet." Rep.
Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) is the current holy grail of communications technology.
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Also, as more ordinary people get into high-speed Internet known as broadband and buy ever-cheaper desktop computers, demand increases on the networks that make up the Web.
During 2003, the internet demonstrated its ability to come down hard when and where it pleased.