noun Computers.
a high-level programming language used mainly for solving problems in science and engineering.

1955–60; for(mula) tran(slation) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
FORTRAN or Fortran (ˈfɔːtræn)
a high-level computer programming language for mathematical and scientific purposes, designed to facilitate and speed up the solving of complex problems
[C20: from for(mula) tran(slation)]
Fortran or Fortran
[C20: from for(mula) tran(slation)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Computing Dictionary

Fortran definition

(Formula Translation) The first and, for a long time, the most widely used programming language for numerical and scientific applications. The original versions lacked recursive procedures and block structure and had a line-oriented syntax in which certain columns had special significance.
There have been a great many versions.
The name is often written "FORTRAN", harking back to the days before computers were taught about lower case, but ANSI decreed, in about 1985 via the ANSI FORTRAN Technical Committee TC, that it should be "Fortran".
See also: Fortrash.
[Was Fortran I the first version?]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
formula translator (programming language)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


computer-programming language created in 1957 by John Backus that shortened the process of programming and made computer programming more accessible.

Learn more about FORTRAN with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences for Fortran
Early versions of fortran provided by other vendors suffered from the same disadvantage.
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