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“Hi-fi” is to “High fidelity” as “Wi-fi” is to what? I thought to refer "Wi-fi" to “wireless fidelity”, but it seem to have no precise meaning.

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closed as general reference by TimLymington, Mitch, Hugo, Mark Beadles, jwpat7 Aug 24 '12 at 14:40

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

wifi. Please refer to dictionaries before asking meaning questions. If the dictionary doesn't satisfy you, please explain why in your question. – Matt E. Эллен Aug 24 '12 at 10:49
Thank you Dwight and Matt! So, wi-fi does not mean 'wireless fidelity', it means hi-fi with one letter changed! – Elberich Schneider Aug 24 '12 at 10:56
No! It is the brand name of IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence. The Fi doesn't mean anything. – Matt E. Эллен Aug 24 '12 at 11:19
Yes, @Matt! I agree, it seems more plausible that "wireless fidelity" would, if it meant anything at all, refer to a spouse who remained faithful even when not attached to electrodes! Haha! – Elberich Schneider Aug 24 '12 at 11:23

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Google has the answer:

"The name The term Wi-Fi, first used commercially in August 1999, was coined by a brand-consulting firm called Interbrand Corporation. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to determine a name that was "a little catchier than 'IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence'". Belanger also stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a play on words with Hi-Fi (high fidelity), and also created the Wi-Fi logo."

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And Hi-Fi itself originated in the 50s phrase "high fidelity", and then signified "cutting-edge sound recording and playback technology"; but by the 60s it actually meant little more than "playback system a cut above the lowest consumer grade". – StoneyB Aug 24 '12 at 11:44
Yes, @StoneyB! Hi-fi has existed since 1934. The Germans, as you say, tried to standardise the meaning of the term hi-fi back in the sixties, but it didn't really catch on. It was just a general term of approval that then became interchangeable with cassette player because everybody claimed to be highly faithful. – Elberich Schneider Aug 24 '12 at 12:46

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