phishing

play
noun phish·ing \ˈfi-shiŋ\

Definition of phishing

  1. :  a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly

phisher

play \ˈfi-shər\ noun

phishing was our Word of the Day on 08/17/2007. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of phishing from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phishing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Phishing is one of the many new computer-related terms that have found their way into the general lexicon over the past decade or so. Its "ph" spelling is influenced by an earlier word for an illicit act: "phreaking." Phreaking involves fraudulently using an electronic device to avoid paying for telephone calls, and its name is suspected of being a shortening of "phone freak." A common phishing scam involves sending e-mails that appear to come from banks requesting recipients to verify their accounts by typing personal details, such as credit card information, into a Web site that has been disguised to look like the real thing. Such scams can be thought of as "fishing" for naive recipients.

Origin and Etymology of phishing

alteration (influenced by phreaking) of fishing

Other Computer-Related Terms


Law Dictionary

phishing

play
noun phish·ing \ˈfi-shiŋ\

Legal Definition of phishing

  1. :  a fraudulent operation by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which can be used for illicit purposes (as identity theft)

Origin and Etymology of phishing

alteration of fishing (probably influenced by phreaking illegal access to a phone system)


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