origin of "you tube" [YouTube]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by piotr1980, May 19, 2007.

  1. piotr1980 Senior Member

    I try to understand the meaning of the fampuse website ''youtube''
    What ''tube'' means in this case?

    Can we say that ''the Tube'' is an equivalent of the TV? and ''you tube'' means that you watch TV?

    I will watch the Tube tonight. (is it correct?)

    Many thanks
  2. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    It's one of those things they make up so they sound appealing that aren't meant to be understood. Like "WAL*MART." It's not a store for walls.

    "I will watch youtube tonight."

    I think "WAL*MART" and "youtube" are cool names for what they are.
  3. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English

    I think the tube in youtube, does stand for television.
    You can say things like, "I'm going to stay home and watch the tube.

    The reason that "the tube" represents a television set, is that the main component of older televisions was a CRT - cathode ray tube, also known as a picture tube.

    Now I'll just guess that the you in youtube comes from the fact that people upload their own videos, you make youtube what it is.
  4. Doppelrahmstufe

    Doppelrahmstufe Senior Member

    Austria, German
    I think the idea is more like, that you make the show.
  5. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    Yea, and also "you" in "youtube" makes you feel good, doesn't it? I think so.

    "Youtube" is one thing. You don't split it up into "my tube" and "his tube" or anything like that.
  6. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    'Tube' is a nickname for television originating from the fact that older televisions have tubes in them. AWordLover explained it well in his post.

    'Wal-Mart' is a combination of the founder's name, Sam Walton, and 'mart', another word for market. it has nothing to do with walls.
  7. Brave1 Member

    Spanish, United States
    I agree with Doppelrahmstufe, it is the idea that "you" choose what will be shown and the "tube" part can probably be traced to those early TV sets as explained before but with the WALMART example, the name comes from its founder Sam Walton. Also, I don't think many peple say they will watch the "tube" when referring to watching television.
  8. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    Maybe that was a bad example then. There's a popular makeup brand called "Urban Decay" but makeup itself doesn't have to do with cities or decay. It just sounds cool, and so do the names for their colors (which are supposed to sound glamorous like cities).
  9. tomandjerryfan

    tomandjerryfan Senior Member

    English (Canada)
    I think the name YouTube is meant to make its users feel empowered to "tube," as in to use their creativity to make their own TV shows that reach the public. Tube never caught on as a verb for watching TV; however, "tube" is sometimes used as a substitute for TV, so your sentence is correct.
  10. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    American English [AmE]
    Tube: a synonym for "television"

    I'm gonna watch the tube. = I'm gonna (going to) watch TV (television).

    You: Second person singular.

    You tube: You (second person singular) tube (watch/make shows on this website).
  11. I_like_my_TV Senior Member

    Does anyone here think that the name "U2" might have had some influence in the choice of name for "Youtube" ? It's funny that whenever I want to say "Youtube", the sound of "U2" first comes to my head.
  12. cwncool New Member

    USA - English
    You are correct. It's because CRT televisions or Cathode Ray Tube televisions were powered by "tubes". The nickname "boob-tube" came about for the TV sort of 'making-fun' of those who watch TV a lot. That's why tube is in you tube. It's a tube (TV) powered by you (the users).
  13. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    Hmm, not for me. Maybe if I pronounced it "ewe-toob" then U2 would come to mind, but I say "ewe-tyoob".
  14. aalvares Member

    European Portuguese
    << Moderator's note: threads merged. >>


    I'm wondering what "youtube" can mean. "Tube" as a verb - to float on a river on a large inner tube for fun - doesn't fit; as a noun it makes more sense but it seems a bit awkward. Is it something like "youTV"?

    Thank you,

    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2013
  15. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    A Cathode Ray Tube was an integral component of televisions before LCD/plasma technology. I think it derives from there somehow.
  16. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Oxnard, CA
    English (U.S.)
    In North American slang, "boob tube" is a television. Or at least it used to be; you don't hear the term all that often.
    I think that's the more direct derivation, though Pickarooney is certainly correct.
  17. aalvares Member

    European Portuguese

    It was very interesting to know about boob tube!

    Thank you,

  18. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    I'm with Rover KE on this - in the UK a boob tube is definitely a sleeveless, strapless, neckless top for women. I suppose the difference comes about because in the UK a boob is a breast (it can also be a mistake but this is less common) whereas in the US it's a stupid person. "Idiot box" would be the UK equivalent.

    I agree that both the AE expression and youtube must come from the use of cathode ray tubes in old TVs. The meaning of youtube is, as you say aalvares, something like youTV - your own personal TV station.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009
  19. xqby

    xqby Senior Member

    Oxnard, CA
    English (U.S.)
    It means "breast" in America almost exclusively, as well; the meaning of "fool" still survives in some phrases, but as I mentioned earlier, those are decreasingly common.

    British boob tubes are called tube tops around here, for the record.
  20. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    Not that it's a particularly relevant here, but 'tube' is also a derogatory term, similar in meaning and register to the less common definition of 'boob' above.
    'You tube!' can mean 'You idiot!"
  21. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have a suspicion that pickarooney's variant of "tube" is common in Ireland but not beyond.
    It adds a delightful sense of madness to the choice of youtube as the term :)
    Youtube is then equivalent to Youfool or Youidiot.
  22. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I've definitely heard it in Scotland too.
  23. Wayland Banned

    I remember a pop music television programme in the 80s/90s was called "The Tube". I did not myself watch the show but it was explained to me that the tube was a slang term for a TV. I had never heard the word used thus and still have not heard it since. Was/is this a regional/generational divide?
  24. pogomole Member

    Astoria, OR USA
    English-Western U.S.
    Hello there!

    Disregard all other answers. Those people are apparently not up on their popular culture. Youtube is a website where people post videos. I am actually amazed that nobody has mentioned it in the previous posts. It is almost as well-known as Google or Yahoo.

    << --- >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2009
  25. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    I'm pretty sure everyone here is on the same page, pogomole. ;) In fact, no one has mentioned it because: 1) providing an actual link to YouTube is not allowed (forum rules), and 2) I think everyone took it for granted that we're all talking about the video hosting website.

    Anyway, as pickarooney mentioned, TVs originally had tubes as a main component and so were (and often still are) nicknamed tubes, for example Let's see what's on the tube today.

    So YouTube could simply be rephrased as YouTV, meaning TV made by/for you or TV of/about you.
  26. pogomole Member

    Astoria, OR USA
    English-Western U.S.
    Hello there!

    I guess if they weren't on the same page before, they are by now.;) Sorry about posting the link. Of course your explanation is correct and probably the best answer to aalvares's original question.

  27. ladybugEnglishFan Senior Member

    << What's the origin of "you tube"?>>

    I was wondering what does it mean? Tube, as far as i know is a pipe, but i guess there's another meaning of it used in "you tube".

    <<Moderators note: Threads merged. >>
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2013
  28. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    As far as I know, it started with video dating. A nickname for a television is "the tube" (as in cathode ray tube).

    "You" presumably referred to the seekers of romance themselves.

    I haven't checked all this but I imagine a Google search for "YouTube origin" would help.
  29. Tacherie

    Tacherie Senior Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    Tube is a way of referring to television, although I don't have much "official" information about how or when the term started to be used with this meaning. Check here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tube&defid=211676

    I suppose You Tube would be a way of saying: "You make television," since you are able to upload your own videos, in contrast with real TV.
  30. koniecswiata Senior Member

    Am English
    Yes, tube refers to television--it is/was often called the tube. I remember it being called "the boob tube"--as a kind of insult. "You" rhymes" with "boob" so I always saw that as a kind of connection; at least it rhymes.
  31. mplsray Senior Member

    The Oxford English Dictionary first cites tube in this sense from a November 1959 issue of Esquire.
  32. ><FISH'> Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    British English
    It's just a catchy website name, chosen to be memorable and topical. Why is this place called "word reference" when it's more than just a dictionary?
  33. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    I always think of a U-tube, the U-shaped pipe under the sink. No logical connection of course, but I've always assumed that they chose You-tube because it sounds like an existing expression.

Share This Page