In the word Facebook what do face and book particulary mean?

I think that face means biography, a self-portrait, a history of a person. And book means a catalogue like in A book of spells.


2 Answers 2


Yes, "book of faces" or "book of photos of faces."

Most questions about the meaning of brand name words don't have a definite answer. Brand names are invented words, so they could mean anything.

In the case of Facebook, however, there is an answer. A "facebook" was originally something like a "yearbook" for new students -- an internally published, printed collection of photos of enrolled college students from a particular school, year, dormitory, or fraternity / sorority, allowing students to share contact information and put names to faces (and vice versa). Some schools called them "lookbooks" or "photo directories." These directories were originally printed on paper and later began to be put online.

Early versions of the Facebook site (before it was called Facebook) used "photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine houses": this often-cited quote appears in Tabak, Alan J. (February 9, 2004). "Hundreds Register for New Facebook Website". The Harvard Crimson. Cambridge, MA. -- see also Wikipedia's Facebook article, History section.

Edit: as @Mick points out in a comment above, ELU also has a page on the origin of the word Facebook.

  • I thought it was a play on "phonebook."
    – LawrenceC
    Nov 27, 2016 at 23:23
  • No, if by "it" you mean Facebook, it was a word already in use. That word might have itself been a play on yearbook, phonebook, or both. Yearbook is attested from 1926, phone book is attested from 1925. Nov 28, 2016 at 0:53

The online book, where we can open biographic profile with photo, video,massage and description with friends face that is called facebook.

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