First known use of the word, "email" (1978)

From: N. Ganesan <>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 02:14:07 -0800

There are interviews in Tamil and English language media about
V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai and his work in high school
and later with respect to electronic mail.

A statement issued by MIT will be useful to make things clear.
"A brief published on Jan. 11 incorrectly titled Shiva Ayyaduri and credits
him with the first copyright to email. He is a faculty lecturer. Also,
while he holds a copyright from 1982 titled “EMAIL,” Ayyaduri is not the
inventor of email, which began in the 1960s."

This raises the question of who was the first to
coin and use the term, email. It appears this
coinage was done by Shiva Ayyadurai in 1978 when
he was 14, and at high school. He explains that
 there was a six-letter limit on program names
in the Fortran IV language, he chose ‘email’ inside
the code.

In early 70s, the term "electronic mail" was used for
fax machines. In late 70's and early 80's
"electronic mail" was used for what we
now call email. For example,

(1) J. M. McQuillan and D. C. Walden, “Designing Electronic Mail Systems
That People Will Use,”
SIGOA Newsletter, May l980, vol. 1, no. 2; InfoMail User Guide, BBN
Information Management
Corporation, Cambridge, MA.

(2) J. M. McQuillan and D. C. Walden, “Portable Software for Electronic
Mail Makes it Hardware-
Independent,” Electronics, March 10, 1981, pp. 167–171.
networked e-mail,

It will be nice if some one can post the
1979 article from Electronics magazine that
uses E-mail for the first time. See Oxford English
Dictionary site,
"1979 Electronics 7 June 63 (heading)
Postal Service pushes ahead with E-mail."

While email tech development has a long history but it was known
by different names. It does seem that in 1978, a high school
student has coined the word, email, which is
now used by everyone.

N. Ganesan
Received on Tue Nov 27 2012 - 04:16:48 CST

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