Origin disputed. There is no known usage before it was adopted by Bell Labs in the late 1960s or early 1970s, so most sources agree it was coined by someone at Bell Labs, but accounts from Bell Labs personnel conflict on the details. The derivation as a traditional term from octo- and thorpe lacks any evidence, but there is near universal agreement that the first element refers to the number eight. Eight is derived from the number of ends of the lines. Thorpe could be reference to , as one proponent was a fan of the athlete.
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