Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply


Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:30 pm

<2017 “It was in this spirit that Anglin ‘doxed’ Gersh and her husband, Judah, as well as other Jews in Whitefish, by publishing their contact information and other personal details on his website.”—Atlantic Monthly, December, page 54.>
DOX does not appear in Merriam-Webster Online nor in the Oxford English Dictionary so it must be a fairly new word.
It does, however, appear in the Google Dictionary as follows:

DOX verb informal:

Definition: Search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent. <Hackers and online vigilantes routinely dox both public and private figures.>

Origin: English, document–>doc–>docs–>dox (early 21st century)

Turns out Wikipedia has a rather lengthy article on this very word (see doxing) and I’ll just record here their definition and etymology:

Definition: Doxing (from dox, abbreviation of documents), doxxing or docxing, is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information (especially personally identifiable) about an individual or organization.
The methods employed to acquire this information include searching publicly available databases and social media websites (like Facebook), hacking, and social engineering. It is closely related to internet vigilantism and hacktivism. Doxing may be carried out for various reasons, including to aid law enforcement, business analysis, extortion, coercion, harassment, online shaming, and vigilante justice.

Etymology: "Doxing" is a neologism that has evolved over its brief history. It comes from a spelling alteration of the abbreviation "docs" (for "documents") and refers to "compiling and releasing a dossier of personal information on someone." Essentially, doxing is revealing and publicizing records of an individual, which were previously private or difficult to obtain. The term dox derives from the slang "dropping dox," which, according to Wired writer Mat Honan, was "an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s." Hackers operating outside the law in that era used the breach of an opponent's anonymity as a means to expose opponents to harassment or legal repercussions. As such, doxing often comes with a negative connotation, because it can be a vehicle for revenge via the violation of privacy.

The following are quotes from archived sources:
<2011 The hackers, calling themselves the A-Team, assembled a trove of private information and put it online for all to see: names, aliases, addresses, phone numbers, even details about family members and girlfriends. But their targets were not corporate executives, government officials or clueless bank customers. They were other hackers. . .. . In hacker parlance, to be unmasked is to be dox'd, as in documented. And by hacker logic, to be dox'd is to be put out of business.”— Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman), 6 July>

<2011 “The information was posted on a third-party website on Monday by hacker group CabinCr3w in a move known as ‘doxing,’ Internet slang for publishing personal information online.”—Daily News (Los Angles, California), 8 December>

<2012 “Using information in the messages, the hackers were able compromise 80,000 user accounts inside a company-run online forum, as well as ‘dox’ an HBGary Federal executive.”—, 22 March>

<2013 “One Internet user's embrace of anonymity might be another's idea of boorish behaviour. Enter ‘doxing. Doxing is the act of outing someone who is trying to be anonymous.There seems to be a lot of doxing lately, . . .”—Winnipeg Free Press (Manitoba, Canada)

<2014 “Now Internet mischief-makers didn't merely dox for personal gain; they were outing white supremacists, suspected child pornographers and government officials who criticized Wikileaks. Doxing became a favored tactic of groups like Lulzsec and Antisec, both of whom published tutorials on the subject.”—The Washington Post (D.C.), 19 May>

<2015 “But lately, it seems, the dox is society's immediate, unthinking reaction to any character or news event with which it doesn't agree. In the past three weeks alone, vigilantes have doxed Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil the lion; Brian Encina, the Texas police officer who arrested Sandra Black; and more than 300 employees of Planned Parenthood, which was purportedly hacked.”—Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois), 16 August>

<2016 “Foreign governments could ‘hack a voting machine,’ ‘shut down the voting system or election agencies,’ ‘delete or change election records,’ ‘hijack a candidate's website, ‘dox a candidate,’ ‘and target campaign donors.’”—States News Service, 25 July>

<2017 “He and another man hacked into the team's fan site and posted a video in which Lostutter, wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, threatened to dox the players and local officials (post their private information online) if they didn't apologize to the girl.”—Mother Jones (San Francisco, California), 1 November>

Ken Greenwald – December 14, 2017

Re: dox/doxing

Post by tony h » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:10 am

That's news to me.
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: dox/doxing

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:49 am

Never heard of it.
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: dox/doxing

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:12 am

I guess we can cross Bob and Tony off the list of suspects. :)

Re: dox/doxing

Post by Phil White » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:18 am

Ken Greenwald wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:30 pm
... was "an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s.
That hurts. The 1990s? Old-school? That was last week, for god's sake!

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Post Reply