This entry was mentioned in an article at Bon Appetit magazine. Click HERE to read more.
This term “mouse potato” is a hybrid expression that sews together “couch potato” and “computer mouse.”
For those who aren’t in the loop, a couch potato springs forth under certain conditions, those conditions being the presence of a couch, at least one bag of potato chips, and a television that seems to have no “off” button. In recent years, couch potatoes have evolved and now Internet communities are seeing the emergence of a new being known as the “mouse potato.”
The Bahrain Gulf Daily News published an article on April 13, 2011, written by B. Comber entitled “Recycling of Used Words.” In his news story, he wrote:
No longer can we refer to anyone with literary or bookish pretensions as ‘booksy’, nor can we use the term ‘mouse potato’ for someone who wastes a lot of time on the computer. ‘Cheque cards’ and ‘cassette decks’ have been left behind by the rapid growth of technology, while for some reason OUP will no longer allow us to roast a chicken in a ‘chicken brick’. I suppose we are meant to use a turducken brick instead, in these enlightened engastricated days.
On August 2, 2006 Nestor E. Arellano wrote an article for IT World Canada entitled, “Heavy Net Users Log Off From Family, Friends, Says StatsCan.” He reported in part:
Behold the mouse potato — heavy Internet users who spend hours on end in front of the computer tapping and scrolling away their time for no apparent financial reward. Statistics Canada tracked the nature and habits of this creature last year and their findings reveal that people who spend time on the Internet for more than an hour each day are logging off from their spouses or partners as well as their children and friends.
And back on May 8, 2001, Carol Braham, one a number of senior editor at Random House, was quoted in a story by freelance writer, Jacqueline Rivkin for Long Island Newsday. In the article which dealt with the latest updates in the 2001 edition of the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, Ms. Braham stated that more than 300 new words and meanings had been added to the modern dictionary, including slang. It read in part:
Some words which made it into the dictionary: gaydar (the ability to recognize that another person is gay), my bad (my fault), mouse potato (a person who spends much leisure time at a computer), senior moment (a lapse or moment of confusion) and 24/7 (an abbreviation for 24 hours a day seven days a week.)
Back on December 31, 1995 the Associated Press ran a story entitled, “New Words Change Our Conversations and Our Dictionaries.” It began by stating:
Among this year’s new or newly prominent words and phrases are World Wide Web, the portion of the Internet where computers users call up information; “mouse potato,” a person hooked on computers; and “nastygram,” an unwelcome message on the Internet.
Almost 2 years before that, on March 4, 1994 James Fussell, staff writer for the Kansas City Star newspaper wrote an article entitled, “Talk Nerdy To Me: Computer Jargon Moves From Savvy Online Users To Everyday Language.” The article began with:
For most people, especially those of you too computer illiterate to page your sysop, the idea of “meeting Ed” probably doesn’t sound all that bad. It all depends on whether Ed is your kind of guy, right? There’s just one problem. Ed isn’t a guy. Ed’s not even human. And frankly, you really don’t want to meet Ed, although you probably have hundreds of times.
Don’t go postal on us. You’re probably just a clueless newbie. Go hang around a mouse potato and see if you can get him to geek out and do a brain dump. The seeming drivel you are reading actually is just a new way to communicate It is the jargon of the truly computer literate.
The expression “couch potato” — the mouse potato predecessor — dates back to 1976, according to the trademark registration. Tom Iacino of Pasadena pictured where a potato might sit if it was watching television, and came up with the term “couch potato.” Once the expression was registered, Tom Iacino‘s friend Bob Armstrong drew a cartoon of a potato on a couch and made money selling couch potato T-shirts, books and newsletters.