Netscape is an old web browser. But can anyone explain the etymology of this word? Is it net+scape or nets+cape, and what is the point in both cases. I feel more logic in nets+cape (geo.), so browser is a cape to the sea of Nets (internet), but want to know what are native speakers actualy feel.

  • Without doing any research, my first impression is that it's net (which, like web, is what the internet used to be called) plus scape. The combined word, netscape, was then a play on landscape. This makes even more sense when you consider that the browser was actually Netscape Navigator. (Netscape was technically the name of the company, not the product.) – Jason Bassford Aug 11 '20 at 6:46
  • Never thought about landscape, sounds true enough. – Gets Aug 11 '20 at 7:31
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    The origin of a brand name is a history question, not an English question. – ColleenV Aug 11 '20 at 13:50
  • “I thought up this word to name my company and because my company was successful now everyone knows the word I made up” is not really etymology. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/etymology – ColleenV Aug 11 '20 at 14:07
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's a question on "etymology" that does not appear to solve a learner's problem. Questions on etymology aren't exactly on topic (was previously completely off-topic). It might be better received on ELU (I'm not sure). See the help center for on-topic questions. See Details, Please and the Contributor's Guide (Asking) for more tips and examples. – Em. Aug 23 '20 at 6:53

It is derived as Net+scape, the second element being the element in "Landscape". It was named by Greg Sands, one of the first people hired by the company, then called "Mosaic Communications", which had trademark problems

SANDS: One morning Jim grabbed me and Paul Koontz, who was VP of marketing, and Marc, and pulled us into Marc's office, which was not particularly large and was very chaotic--papers stacked everywhere and boxes of Honeycomb cereal everywhere where there weren't papers. Jim said, "We've got to make progress on [renaming the company]." And I said, "We've got a couple of ideas, but they're not great." Then it just kind of popped into my head, and I said, "How about Netscape?" Everyone kind of looked around, saying, "Hey, that's pretty good. That's better than these other things." It gave a sense of trying to visualize the Net and of being able to view what's out there. source

A "Landscape" is a view, and since the 1800s the second element has been used productively to form new words meaning "a view of" like "cityscape", "dreamscape". "scape" on its own doesn't mean anything (it ultimately derives from a Dutch word for "quality, condition" but that meaning is completely lost now)

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