mainframe

[meyn-freym]
noun Computers.
a large computer, often the hub of a system serving many users.


Origin:
1960–65; main1 + frame

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mainframe
"central processor of a computer system," 1964, from main (adj.) + frame.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
mainframe   (mān'frām')  Pronunciation Key 
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.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

mainframe definition

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
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Example sentences
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.
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