Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

This article should mention the popular misuses of this word to mean copying or file transfer generally, as in "I want to download my photos onto a CD rom". Most people don't seem to differentiate between downloading, uploading, and copying from the local computer onto a removable medium, for instance. — Hippietrail 10:57, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I gave it a shot. —Muke Tever 17:35, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll take that as confirmation then that it's not just dumb Aussies who say such things. I'll keep my ears open for more notes... — Hippietrail 23:22, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)


A category similar to Category:English words affected by prescriptivism and Category:Disputed usage would be useful for this term. As such categories are unexpectedly controversial, I'm not categorising just yet. — Hippietrail 03:53, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Officially, the established convention was once stated as "Download to" and "Upload from" (which is contrary to our norm). Can someone please verify this?

Who officially established this and where? — Hippietrail 10:39, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

download as "the downloaded / downloadable file"[edit]

It seems to me that download as a noun is often used not only to refer to the process of downloading, but also to the file that is being downloaded or is possible to be downloaded. Is this a misuse? 12:11, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

  • It is a proper use of the term (we already have the noun defined). These days it is most often used in the phrase "music download". SemperBlotto 12:15, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure it is, before you replied I edited the article, so feel free to revert. Conrad.Irwin 12:22, 3 December 2007 (UTC)


Where did this word come from (etymology) ? When, why and/or how was this word first connected to its current meaning ? Does anybody know ? -- Monmajhi

upload and download were coined for computer usage in the U.S. in 1980, from up/down + load. The word down is used in the sense of downstream, like something moving down a river from its source to the sea. In the same way, data moves down towards the printer and finally paper, or up towards the computer, satellite, or host computer. —Stephen 05:37, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Can you provide any reference, preferably an online one? I googled a lot but couldn't find anything about the origin of this word ! -- Monmajhi
Unfortunately, no. You can see a bit of information at, but mostly it’s based on what I learned about computers during the 1980’s (I bought my first computer in had no hard drive and the entire operating system had to be loaded from a series of one-sided 5.25" floppies every morning). —Stephen 12:48, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

pure speculation, but the origin could come from modem transfer where the phone wire was typically overhead and so a download was literally coming down a wire. Otherwise its not so obvious why the server is up and the client down. Its actually a bit surprising that the etymologists cant pinpoint the first published usage. If the opposite convention was adopted would we today have 'cloud' computing?

One’s computer is not always "down". You download from an Internet address to your computer, and then you can further download from your computer to your printer. The printer is downstream from the computer. If the printer creates an image that is sent to your computer for proofing before printing, that is uploading, because the computer is upstream from the printer. —Stephen (Talk) 07:56, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Corporate downloading?[edit]

Does "download", when used in this sense, mean "outsource"? It's just that I don't see that definition anywhere on this page, and it's a commonly used one. Ztobor 02:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Convert to a less powerful system[edit]

The 1989 magazine citation at Spec-chum uses the word "download" to mean "convert or port to a less powerful system". This could just be an error... Equinox 18:11, 1 June 2016 (UTC)