I was wondering, how did pieces of information saved by websites and stored in a web browser come to be known as cookies? Who came up with the name, and when? What is the logic behind the choice of that particular name? Does it have anything to do with an edible cookie?

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    It's a little sweeter than a "bread crumb", and "bread crumb" comes from an old fairy tale. (You leave bread crumbs behind to know where you've been. Cookies are "sweetened" with additional information content.) – Daniel R Hicks Aug 14 '14 at 23:37

You might be interested in this article by Lou Montulli, founding engineer at Netscape. A quoting from him:

I had heard the term "magic cookie" from an operating systems course from college. The term has a somewhat similar meaning to the way Web Cookies worked and I liked the term "cookies" for aesthetic reasons. Cookies was the first thing I came up with and the name stuck.

EDIT: I digged a little bit deeper trying to find the actual origin of the name. I found this article on the acm library which uses the same source as the Wikipedia article Magic Cookie to explain that it is a term in hacker's jargon. As to why the term appeared in hacker's jargon I found this discussion also in Wikipedia which points to very dissimilar reasons: For example, it talks about a reference to LSD in Dan O'Neil's cartoon strip "Odd Bodkins". Also it talks about a reference to fortune cookies. Or even talks about the Cookie Monster. Well it seems that it is still unclear what was the original context of the word Magic Cookie.


The term "cookie" was derived from "magic cookie", which is the packet of data a program receives and sends again unchanged.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie#History

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