n. [now historical] An old-style UUCP electronic-mail address specifying hops to get from some assumed-reachable location to the addressee, so called because each hop
is signified by a bang
sign. Thus, for example, the path ...!bigsite!foovax!barbox!me directs people to route their mail to machine bigsite (presumably a well-known location accessible to everybody) and from there through the machine foovax to the account of user me on barbox.
In the bad old days of not so long ago, before autorouting mailers became commonplace, people often published compound bang addresses using the
convention (see glob
) to give paths from _several_ big machines, in the hopes that one's correspondent might be able to get mail to one of them reliably (example: ...!seismo, ut-sally, ihnp4!rice!beta!gamma!me). Bang paths of 8 to 10 hops were not uncommon in 1981. Late-night dial-up UUCP links would cause week-long transmission times. Bang paths were often selected by both transmission time and reliability, as messages would often get lost. See Internet address
, the network
, and sitename