14 technology terms explained in everyday language

This site uses clever metaphors to demystify technology without the jargon

Jargon is like a snooty wall that shuts people out of understanding a topic, and technology is rife with them. Metaphorical.ly aims to explain technology terms in simple metaphors, to help increase our understanding of technology and make it more accessible.


No doubt you already know all if not most of the terms and concepts on the site, but the metaphors are a fun read anyway and can help you explain a difficult topic to a friend of family member. 

Terms include binary code, cache, compiling, database, defragmenting, exploit, phishing, and VPN. Here's an example, for "cookie." This is Wikipedia's explanation:

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while the user is browsing that website.

And Metaphorical.ly's metaphor:

A Cookie is a Handstamp at a Bar

When you go to a bar, and you pay the bouncer cover, you might get a hand stamp to prove you paid. If you go out to a few others, you might collect several stamps. By the end of the night, someone might ask, "hey, have you been to those bars?" That might surprise you, that it was obvious where you had been to a total stranger, so you wash them off.

But then, when you go back to the first bar, the bouncer won't remember who you are.

That's what an HTTP Cookie is... a small "stamp" in your browser that shows where you were and perhaps something specific you looked at. And that first bouncer could be your banking, email, travel or other website that doesn't "remember" you once you delete all of your cookies.

Much clearer, right?

Check out the full list here. You can also suggest a term or contribute your own on GitHub.

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