chawmpn. [University of Florida] 16 or 18 bits (half of a machine word). This term was used by FORTH hackers during the late 1970s/early 1980s; it is said to have been archaic then, and may now be obsolete. It was coined in revolt against the promiscuous use of `word' for anything between 16 and 32 bits; `word' has an additional special meaning for FORTH hacks that made the overloading intolerable. For similar reasons, /gaw'bl/ (spelled `gawble' or possibly `gawbul') was in use as a term for 32 or 48 bits (presumably a full machine word, but our sources are unclear on this). These terms are more easily understood if one thinks of them as faithful phonetic spellings of `chomp' and `gobble' pronounced in a Florida or other Southern U.S. dialect. For general discussion of similar terms, see nybble.
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