follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

hardware

[hahrd-wair] /ˈhɑrdˌwɛər/
noun
1.
metalware, as tools, locks, hinges, or cutlery.
2.
the mechanical equipment necessary for conducting an activity, usually distinguished from the theory and design that make the activity possible.
3.
military weapons and combat equipment.
4.
Slang. a weapon carried on one's person:
The rougher types were asked to check their hardware at the door.
5.
Computers. the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical devices comprising a computer system, as the CPU, disk drives, keyboard, or screen.
Compare software.
Origin
1505-1515
1505-15; 1955-60 for def 5; hard + ware1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for hard-ware

hardware

/ˈhɑːdˌwɛə/
noun
1.
metal tools, implements, etc, esp cutlery or cooking utensils
2.
(computing) the physical equipment used in a computer system, such as the central processing unit, peripheral devices, and memory Compare software
3.
mechanical equipment, components, etc
4.
heavy military equipment, such as tanks and missiles or their parts
5.
(informal) a gun or guns collectively
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hard-ware
hardware
1515, from hard + ware (n.). In the sense of "physical components of a computer" it dates from 1947.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
hard-ware in Science
hardware
  (härd'wâr')   
A computer, its components, and its related equipment. Hardware includes disk drives, integrated circuits, display screens, cables, modems, speakers, and printers. Compare software.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
hard-ware in Culture

hardware definition


The physical machinery and devices that make up a computer system. It is contrasted to software — the programs and instructions used to run the system.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hard-ware

hardware

noun
  1. Weapons and other war mate´riel: military ''hardware,'' tanks, planes, guns, rockets, weapons (1865+)
  2. Military insignia or medals worn on a uniform (WWII armed forces)
  3. Badges and other identification jewelry (1930s+)
  4. hard drug, hard liquor

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

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for hardware

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hard

8
7
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with hard-ware