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network, the

network, the: n. 1. The union of all the major noncommercial,
   academic, and hacker-oriented networks, such as Internet, the old
   ARPANET, NSFnet, BITNET, and the virtual UUCP and USENET
   `networks', plus the corporate in-house networks and commercial
   time-sharing services (such as CompuServe) that gateway to them.  A
   site is generally considered `on the network' if it can be reached
   through some combination of Internet-style (@-sign) and UUCP
   (bang-path) addresses.  See bang path, Internet address,
   network address.  2. A fictional conspiracy of libertarian
   hacker-subversives and anti-authoritarian monkeywrenchers described
   in Robert Anton Wilson's novel "Schr"odinger's Cat", to which
   many hackers have subsequently decided they belong (this is an
   example of ha ha only serious).

In sense 1, `network' is often abbreviated to `net'. "Are you on the net?" is a frequent question when hackers first meet face to face, and "See you on the net!" is a frequent goodbye.