net: a piece of openwork fabric forming mesh
Net is related to the words mesh and grid. All have the sense of interlocking connections. Those interlocking connections can be of fiber, twine or cord, as in a net you would use to catch an animal or a bird.
|A net you might use to catch an animal or a bird.|
|See the interlocking connections?|
|Interlocking connections, again.|
|This is a picture of a cloud network.|
Work just means something that's built or made. Thus, a network is:
- Any netlike or complex system or collection of interrelated things.
- (in computing) A system of interconnected computers.
Other things, especially in living beings, can have the appearance of a net and thus form a network. In animals or humans, tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, look like a net and thus form a network.
|See how the blood vessels look like a net?|
In plants, vessels to carry fluids can look like a net and form a network. Look at this leaf:
|A network of vessels in the leaf of a plant called a hydrangea.|
But we're more interested in the use of the word network as it applies to the interconnections of devices (computers, smartphones, and the like) that use or process information. Here's another picture of a computer network:
|Interlocking connections, this time through the world! A world wide net! Um, a world wide web.|
(So I slipped, with this last picture, and referred to the "world wide net," when we know that it's called the World Wide Web, usually abbreviated to "www."
This leads me to your assignments. Choose one:
1. Now that you know what a net is, what is a web? How are they similar? How are they different?
2. Nets can catch or snare things. Give seven examples of things that can be caught or snared in a net. But: two of those things cannot be animals. What can be caught or snared in a net that's not an animal? I wonder. . . .
--The English Avocado