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[hak-er] /ˈhæk ər/
a person or thing that hacks.
Slang. a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill:
weekend hackers on the golf course.
  1. a person who has a high level of skill in computer technology or programming; a computer expert or enthusiast:
    My brother is a real hacker—he fixed my laptop in no time.
  2. a person who circumvents security and breaks into a network, computer, file, etc., usually with malicious intent: A hacker got into my computer remotely and wiped my hard drive!
    The company has hired hackers to test system security.
Origin of hacker
1200-50; Middle English (as surname); see hack1, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for hackers


a person that hacks
(slang) a computer fanatic, esp one who through a personal computer breaks into the computer system of a company, government, etc
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 hackers



"a chopper, cutter," perhaps also "one who makes hacking tools," early 13c. (as a surname), agent noun from hack (v.1). Meaning "one who gains unauthorized access to computer records" is attested by 1983, agent noun from hack (v.2). Said to be from slightly earlier tech slang sense of "one who works like a hack at writing and experimenting with software, one who enjoys computer programming for its own sake," 1976, reputedly a usage that evolved at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (however an MIT student from the late 1960s recalls hack (n.) being used then and there in the general sense of "creative prank," which clouds its sense connection with the "writing for hire" word, and there may be a source or an influence here in hack (v.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hackers

hacker 1


A persistent but generally unskillful performer or athlete; duffer (1950s+)

hacker 2


  1. A skillful but not necessarily elegant computer programmer •This term has many senses in computer slang; the core notion is simply ''someone who enjoys messing with computers, cleverly or not'': When a hacker programs, he creates worlds/ As a hacker, McLachlan is a member of an intense, reclusive subculture of the computer age (1976+ Computer)
  2. A person who with evil, inquisitive, or self-aggrandizing intent intrudes into computer networks and files: He said computer intruders, commonly referred to as hackers, who take over a router can do whatever they want (1980+ Computer)

[said to be fr hack2, computer jargon for a clever and subtle correction of a flow in a computer program]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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