[MUD-Dev] First use of "avatar"?

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 12 14:44:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Tuesday, December 11, 2001, 11:34:40 AM, Koster, Raph wrote:

> The OED is doing a pilot project to incorporate a large number of
> words derived from SF. You can read about it here:


> One in particular that caught my eye was this entry:

>   avatar (n.) antedating 1992 (in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash)
>   sense is a VR representation of a person

> I want to say that avatar was used before Snow Crash. Am I wrong?

Well, it was used by the Hindus, wasn't it?  I'd even say that it
was used by them to mean a VR representation of a person -- that
"person" is a god, and the VR they're creating an extension into is
Maya, the world illusion.  It's not a *computer-generated* VR, but
it's also not considered to be "real" reality.

"avatar" is also the name of the "root" account on some Unix
systems.  I don't know how far back that practice goes.

Travis Casey
efindel at earthlink.net

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