Usually a definition essay starts with a way of discovering the sense of some term and the further discusses it more deeply along the text body. Writing an essay about the word hack is not that easy as it may seem from a superficial and brief point of view. The word was perhaps first used in c.1200 as a verb to mean cutting something roughly. The meaning of hack was later influenced by West Germanic hakkon, Dutch word hakken, Old High German hacchon and German hacken (Etymology.com). Today, the word has various meanings that are described in the following passages. The word is also used as an idiom such as ‘can’t hack it’ or ‘hack at someone or something. The former idiom is used when a person is unable to do something, while the latter idiom means to chop something continuously or to criticize someone continuously.
The work hack also has various meanings and is used in a vast range of human spheres. It used in several areas such as computers and technology (hacking a system or a network), sports (horse ride, falconry, curling), games (video games as a major), mass media (different television shows and comics), political science (in this field of study a “hack” word defines political machinations), building (hack means a form of masonry), transport services (a taxi driver’s license is often called a hack license) and even places (interesting fact: there is a place in New Zealand, named Hack Circle – it is an amphitheater in central Christchurch) (The Free Dictionary).
The word can be further discussed from its most prior and widespread point of view. In this meaning computers & technology sphere is an absolute leader among others. First time the word hack was used at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Ins`titute of Technology). It was related to fussing with machines. In 1955, on Tech Model Railroad Club meeting there was an interesting statement: “Mr. Eccles requests everyone who is working or hacking on the electrical system must turn the power off in order to avoid fuse blowing” (Yagoda).
The lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower, who has been tracking the iterations of “hack” and “hacker” during the years, noticed the earliest examples share a relatively benign sense of “working on” a tech problem in a different, presumably more creative way than what’s outlined in the instruction manual.
Based on it, later on the spread of this word has been growing enormously fast and began to be used for defining any action or way of cooperation, different from usual ones. The meaning of the word hack has started to evolve and nowadays there are approximately 30 similar, but different meanings, of this word. Nowadays it used both as a noun and a verb, and in practical oral communication “verb” variant is used far more often in day to day life.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that nowadays majority of people in developed countries, who use computer technology in a very wide spread way, are unaware of the true meaning of the word. Most of the people are ignorant of the word hack’s meaning — today it is preferably used to describe any action related with a change, modification, upgrade, break-in, illegal entering of any data/software/personal, public or secured information in order to capture/steal/delete/edit into false/resale any data stored. The word is also used to mean transmitting information via any technical device that operates with the use of software algorithms and other computer programs that operate either independently or as part of any network, or accessing date through connection with other devices via local or wide area networks such as the Internet.
Today we can surely say that hack is mostly related to something bad and illegal, and unfortunately, in 90% of cases that is related with true outcomes of “hackers” activity. It is necessary to state this does not mean the bad meaning of the word hack for itself – the main reason for wrong opinion is just people’ lack of knowledge about it in deep and true aspect.
Yagoda, Ben. "A Short History of 'Hack'." The New Yorker, 2014. Web. 20 Mar 2014. <http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/03/a-short-history-of-hack.html>.
“Hack: definition of hack in Oxford dictionary” (British & World English)." Oxforddictionaries.com, 2014. Web. 20 Mar 2014. <http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hack>.
“Hack.” The Free dictionary, 2014. Web. 20 Mar 2014. <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hack>.
“Hack”. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2014. Web 20 March 2014. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=hack