killer app

Computers, Informal.
an application that surpasses its competitors.

Origin:
1985–90

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Main Entry:  killer app
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See killer application
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Slang Dictionary

killer app

The application that actually makes a sustaining market for a promising but under-utilized technology. First used in the mid-1980s to describe Lotus 1-2-3 once it became evident that demand for that product had been the major driver of the early business market for IBM PCs. The term was then restrospectively applied to VisiCalc, which had played a similar role in the success of the Apple II. After 1994 it became commonplace to describe the World Wide Web as the Internet's killer app. One of the standard questions asked about each new personal-computer technology as it emerges has become "what's the killer app?"
Example sentences
For many on campus, checking e-mail on the go is the first killer app of the hand-held world.
If this works nearly as well as it looks on the video demo, this could be a killer app.
In that world of high tech traffic control, benign dictatorship is the killer app, and democracy is a bug.
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