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computer

[kuh m-pyoo-ter] /kəmˈpyu tər/
noun
1.
Also called processor. an electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations.
2.
a person who computes; computist.
Origin
1640-1650
1640-50; compute + -er1; compare Middle French computeur
Related forms
computerlike, adjective
noncomputer, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for computers
  • Though they're usually called djs, these acts typically use computers and play their own music.
  • In those days, computers were still operated with perforated cards, and the general public knew little about them.
  • Unfortunately, the expensive computers were a commercial flop.
  • Cell phones are compact computers, and there are much better things to do with them.
  • We all had our computers and satellite phones and were trying to figure out a way to power everything with one car battery.
  • computers are hardly the only electronic hardware hounded by obsolescence.
  • Thanks mainly to keener instruments and more powerful computers, forecasters are extending their reach into the uncertain future.
  • Few people imagined that computers would become as widespread as they are today.
  • If your computers have speakers, have students listen to some humpback songs.
  • But as computers become smaller and more powerful, they are pushing down the cost of genetic sequencing.
British Dictionary definitions for computers

computer

/kəmˈpjuːtə/
noun
1.
  1. a device, usually electronic, that processes data according to a set of instructions. The digital computer stores data in discrete units and performs arithmetical and logical operations at very high speed. The analog computer has no memory and is slower than the digital computer but has a continuous rather than a discrete input. The hybrid computer combines some of the advantages of digital and analog computers See also digital computer, analog computer, hybrid computer
  2. (as modifier): computer technology, related prefix cyber-
2.
a person who computes or calculates
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for computers

computer

n.

1640s, "one who calculates," agent noun from compute (v.). Meaning "calculating machine" (of any type) is from 1897; in modern use, "programmable digital electronic computer" (1945 under this name; theoretical from 1937, as Turing machine). ENIAC (1946) usually is considered the first. Computer literacy is recorded from 1970; an attempt to establish computerate (adjective, on model of literate) in this sense in the early 1980s didn't catch on. Computerese "the jargon of programmers" is from 1960, as are computerize and computerization.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A New York Congressman says the use of computers to record personal data on individuals, such as their credit background, "is just frightening to me." [news article, March 17, 1968]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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computers in Science
computer
  (kəm-py'tər)   
A programmable machine that performs high-speed processing of numbers, as well as of text, graphics, symbols, and sound. All computers contain a central processing unit that interprets and executes instructions; input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse, through which data and commands enter the computer; memory that enables the computer to store programs and data; and output devices, such as printers and display screens, that show the results after the computer has processed data.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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computers in Culture

computer definition


An electronic device that stores and manipulates information. Unlike a calculator, it is able to store a program and retrieve information from its memory. Most computers today are digital, which means they perform operations with quantities represented electronically as digits.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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