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1845, "animal which browses," agent noun from browse (v.). In the computer sense by 1982.
The first browser was invented at PARC by Larry Tesler, now a designer at Apple Computer. Tesler's first Smalltalk browser was a tree-structured device. It enabled programmers to hunt quickly for items in a Smalltalk dictionary. ["InfoWorld" magazine, vol. v., no. 4, Jan. 24, 1983]
See Web browser.