follow Dictionary.com

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

mainframe

[meyn-freym] /ˈmeɪnˌfreɪm/
noun, Computers.
1.
a large computer, often the hub of a system serving many users.
Origin
1960-1965
1960-65; main1 + frame
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for mainframe
  • He made the courageous decision down the path into computing and modern mainframe computers.
  • Reporters grew infatuated with the idea of a tiny piece of software knocking out big mainframe computers worldwide.
  • In the early years of climate modeling, all instructions were input into the mainframe using punch cards.
  • Yes there were alternatives to the technology then available, minicomputers, mainframe computers.
  • What its customers really wanted was not mainframe computers as such, but rather the power to process information electronically.
  • People have likened it to the move from mainframe computing to personal computing.
  • They received paper memos and reports printed from mainframe computers.
British Dictionary definitions for mainframe

mainframe

/ˈmeɪnˌfreɪm/
noun
1.
  1. a high-speed general-purpose computer, usually with a large storage capacity
  2. (as modifier): mainframe systems
2.
the central processing unit of a computer
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 mainframe
n.

"central processor of a computer system," 1964, from main (adj.) + frame (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
mainframe in Science
mainframe
  (mān'frām')   
A large, often powerful computer, usually dedicated to lengthy, complex calculations or set up for use by many people simultaneously. Compare personal computer.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
mainframe in Culture

mainframe definition


A large, powerful computer system. A mainframe computer typically carries out complex calculations and is shared by many users. (Compare personal computer.)

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
mainframe in Technology
computer
A term originally referring to the cabinet containing the central processor unit or "main frame" of a room-filling Stone Age batch machine. After the emergence of smaller "minicomputer" designs in the early 1970s, the traditional big iron machines were described as "mainframe computers" and eventually just as mainframes. The term carries the connotation of a machine designed for batch rather than interactive use, though possibly with an interactive time-sharing operating system retrofitted onto it; it is especially used of machines built by IBM, Unisys and the other great dinosaurs surviving from computing's Stone Age.
It has been common wisdom among hackers since the late 1980s that the mainframe architectural tradition is essentially dead (outside of the tiny market for number crunching supercomputers (see Cray)), having been swamped by the recent huge advances in integrated circuit technology and low-cost personal computing. As of 1993, corporate America is just beginning to figure this out - the wave of failures, takeovers, and mergers among traditional mainframe makers have certainly provided sufficient omens (see dinosaurs mating).
Supporters claim that mainframes still house 90% of the data major businesses rely on for mission-critical applications, attributing this to their superior performance, reliability, scalability, and security compared to microprocessors.
[Jargon File]
(1996-07-22)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for mainframe

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mainframe

0
19
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for mainframe