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[kuh m-pahy-ler] /kəmˈpaɪ lər/
a person who compiles.
Also called compiling routine. Computers. a computer program that translates a program written in a high-level language into another language, usually machine language.
Compare interpreter (def 3a).
Origin of compiler
1300-50; Middle English compilour < Anglo-French; Old French compileor < Late Latin compīlātōr-. See compile, -er2
Related forms
precompiler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for compiler


a person who collects or compiles something
a computer program by which a high-level programming language, such as COBOL or FORTRAN, is converted into machine language that can be acted upon by a computer Compare assembler
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 compiler

early 14c., from Anglo-French compilour, Old French compileur "author, chronicler," from Latin compilatorem, agent noun from compilare (see compile). Another form of the word current in early Modern English was compilator, directly from the Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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compiler in Science
A computer program associated with certain programming languages that converts the instructions written in those languages into machine code that can later be executed directly by a computer. See more at programming language.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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compiler in Technology
programming, tool
A program that converts another program from some source language (or programming language) to machine language (object code). Some compilers output assembly language which is then converted to machine language by a separate assembler.
A compiler is distinguished from an assembler by the fact that each input statement does not, in general, correspond to a single machine instruction or fixed sequence of instructions. A compiler may support such features as automatic allocation of variables, arbitrary arithmetic expressions, control structures such as FOR and WHILE loops, variable scope, input/ouput operations, higher-order functions and portability of source code.
AUTOCODER, written in 1952, was possibly the first primitive compiler. Laning and Zierler's compiler, written in 1953-1954, was possibly the first true working algebraic compiler.
See also byte-code compiler, native compiler, optimising compiler.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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