Today I was troubleshooting an issue with one of our customers and I said, "You have to make sure the cursor is active in the text box."  I had wondered for a moment how esoteric that statement sounds. Does the person I'm speaking with know what a cursor is?  Is "mouse cursor" really a thing? How did we get here?


So I looked up the word ...


The word originates from the Latin word for "a running messenger" or "errand-boy".  This was adopted by computer scientists and engineers sometime around 1967. Wait a sec.  What's that graph at the bottom?  Look at the upward slope!  Let's take a closer look at that ...



This is Google's Ngram viewer.  The Ngram Viewer is quite the technological feat.  Read more about it here:  Neat.


What I assume here is that the word became more popular as computers became standard tools, readily available to all.  Troves of computer books were written.  I.T. departments were born.  Businesses spent time training people about how to use this new found errand-boy, the cursor.


Alas, the word began its decline in 1991.  What happened in 1991?  The World Wide Web!  -- that's what.  Web apps became popular -- cursor starts to decline.  What else happened in 1991 in the computer world?  A bunch of cool things, actually.  Check this out:


People don't talk about the cursor as much. Let's check back in 10 years and see if anybody even remembers what it is.


"Thank you for reading!"