What Does The Wiki In Wikipedia Actually Mean?

People have been left blown away after finding out what the meaning of wiki is in Wikipedia. 
Credit: Alamy

People have been left blown away after finding out what the meaning of wiki is in Wikipedia. 

Whether it’s what the GPT in ChatGPT stands for or what the original name of Google was, you learn something new every day.

But now, it’s the real meaning behind the name Wikipedia that has left people mind-blown.

It turns out, the ‘wiki’ of the name has a rather significant meaning…

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If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ll likely be au fait with the joys of Wikipedia.

Since January 15, 2001, Wikipedia has been providing the internet with informative articles on basically everything you could possibly think of.

Its mission statement reads: “Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and millions already have.

“Written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers, known as Wikipedians, Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone and anywhere with Internet access (and who is not presently blocked), except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism.”

It has millions of different articles covering all manner of things.

In fact, you name it, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there’s a Wikipedia page for it.

People have been left blown away after finding out what the meaning of wiki is in Wikipedia. Credit: Alamy

However, many of us have never considered the exact meaning behind the site’s unusual name.

Luckily for us, Reddit has been on the case.

One Reddit user asks: “What does the prefix ‘wiki’ mean or where does it come from? We have Wikileaks, Wikipedia, subreddits and TV shows, etc have their own ‘wiki’. Are they connected?”

Well, as per the site itself: “The name was suggested by Sanger on 11 January 2001 as a portmanteau of the words wiki (Hawaiian for ‘quick’) and encyclopedia.”

Another article explains that: “A statement on Wikipedia reads: ‘The online encyclopedia project Wikipedia is the most popular wiki-based website, and is one of the most widely viewed sites in the world, having been ranked in the top twenty since 2007.

“‘Wikipedia is not a single wiki but rather a collection of hundreds of wikis, with each one pertaining to a specific language’.”

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Another Reddit user explains: “It all started with WardsWiki. Wikipedia didn’t come along until 2001. WardsWiki was started in 1995, a full six years earlier.

“I would assume the original etymology of the word ‘Wikipedia’ was intended to be a play on words that more or less meant ‘fast encyclopedia’. Over time, ‘wiki’ has grown to mean any online database – usually one written by many people collectively.

“As for why other sites use the prefix or suffix is anybody’s guess, but I think it’s just because Wikipedia is so popular and has such a unique and recognisable format.”

A third user said: “Wikipedia did not coin the term, only popularised it. A blog, short for weblog, is an online article written by a single author.

“A wiki is an article written and edited by many authors.”

Did you know the meaning of wiki?

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.