Word of the day – wilfing

According to an article in the Guardian, the new national obsession in the UK is wilfing, or surfing the web without any particular purpose. The word wilf comes from the phrase “what was I looking for?” and in a survey of 2400 British internet users, more than two thirds admitted that they wilf from time to time.

I quite often find myself wilfing. How about you?

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

14 Responses to Word of the day – wilfing

  1. Josh says:

    I wilf about 75% of the time that I’m on the computer. I think it’s ruined my short term memory.

  2. Polly says:

    I am a compulsive wilfer. I used to read encyclopedias when I was young. So, the Net has been a logical extension and amplification of that tendency.

  3. Krithika says:

    Thanks for the word- now I know what I do when I surf the web without any reason- I wilf.

  4. Aeneas says:

    I wilf regularly. That’s how I found this site, so it can be quite productive from time to time!

    BTW, very cool word 🙂

  5. Alfonso Muñoz says:

    You’re going to like this: I propose a spanish translation for “to wilf”. The verb would be “webear” which is of course no real spanish word since it comes from the english word “web”. But “webear” sounds quite like “huevear”, which, in spanish slang, means something like “to do unimportant things instead of doing what you are meant to do out of laziness or lack of motivation”. Of course, that meaning fits particularly with “to wilf at your workplace”.

    I certainly wilf a lot at home…

  6. Anders says:

    I don’t wilf totaly planless. I sometimes wilf in subjects that intressts me, like wilfing around at political websites until I find something interessting.

  7. Juliette says:

    Yup ! Guilty as charged.

  8. Declan says:

    I wilf when I get distracted from what I wanted to look up. So I look up omniglot and end up taking a link from a site that omniglot linked to and I’m on a totally different track. Does that count?

  9. Joseph Staleknight says:

    Occasionally I do wilf, because I have nothing better to do online. Sometimes it leads to the discovery of a site new to me, or perhaps a new meme.

    I pretty much wilfed to your site, Simon.

  10. I am terrible about that–especially where Wikipedia is involved. Like Polly, I was addicted to encyclopedias when I was little, and the Internet just makes it that much easier. 😀

  11. Polly says:

    So much random knowledge, so little time!

  12. SamD says:

    I find myself going to the computer with a specific purpose in mind, and more often than not I find myself drifting into wilfing. I see something that makes me think of something else, and there’s a chain reaction that can lead me to spend hours wilfing.

  13. Josh says:

    OH yeah- Wikipedia is like ground zero for wilfing as far as I’m concerned.

    I dunno if this term will catch on in the US- it doesn’t really have a sound that goes along with the slang here. Who knows though.

  14. martha says:

    According to something I read on MirandaNet, the term may take its name from “major wilfer Wilf Duggan”.


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