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[ad-wair] /ˈædˌwɛər/
noun, Computers.
software that displays advertisements and is integrated into another program offered at no charge or at low cost.
a type of spyware that gathers information about an Internet user's browsing habits and displays targeted or contextual advertisements. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for adware
  • The company insists the app is neither spyware nor adware, but it can still slow your computer down.
  • Spyware and adware cause pop-up ads to appear on your screen or track your online activities.
  • Malware and adware can be difficult to detect and remove.
  • Spyware and adware can interfere with the catalog website.
  • If the user accepts, the video downloads while also covertly attempting to install the adware installer.
  • The use of adware, which is short for advertising software, makes spreading spam and viruses incredibly easy.
  • How to recognize and remove spyware, adware and viruses, as well as tips to prevent them from infecting your computer.
  • Many adware applications also track user information.
  • Defendants engaged in false advertising to lure consumers into downloading spyware and adware on their computers.
  • adware checks what sites you visit and pops up ads for similar information.
British Dictionary definitions for adware


a type of computer software that collects information about a user's browsing patterns in order to display relevant advertisements in his or her Web browser
computer software that is given to a user with advertisements already embedded
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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Contemporary definitions for adware

a form of spyware that collects information about the computer user's online behavior in order to display targeted advertisements in the Web browser

Word Origin

2000-05's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for adware

2000 (earlier as the name of a software company), from ad (n.) + -ware, abstracted from software, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adware in Technology

Any kind of software which is distributed free of charge along with advertisements that are either placed on the web site from which the software is distributed or displayed by the program while it is running.
Nagware might be considered a special case of adware where the program tries to persuade the user to buy a license for the program itself.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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