paper tape

noun Computers.
a narrow strip of paper in which holes are punched in designated patterns to represent characters: formerly in common use as an input/output medium.
Also called punched tape, punch tape.


Origin:
1885–90, for earlier sense

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
paper tape
 
n
US equivalent: perforated tape a strip of paper for recording information in the form of rows of either six or eight holes, some or all of which are punched to produce a combination used as a discrete code symbol, formerly used in computers, telex machines, etc

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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

paper tape definition

hardware, history
Punched paper tape. An early input/output and storage medium borrowed from telegraph and teletype systems.
Data entered at the keyboard of the teletype could be directed to a perforator or punch which punched a pattern of holes across the width of a paper tape to represent the characters typed. The paper tape could be read by a tape reader feeding the computer. Computer output could be similarly punched onto tape and printed off-line.
As well as storage of the program and data, use of paper tape enabled batch processing.
The first units had five data hole positions plus a sprocket hole (for the driving wheel) across the width of the tape. These used commercial telegraph code (ITA2 also known as Murray), Baudot code, or proprietary codes such as Elliott which were more programmer-friendly. Later systems had eight data holes and used ASCII coding.
(2003-12-02)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
Previously, commands had to be fed into a computer in batches, usually via a
  punch card or paper tape.
There was a bookcase and a worktable with piles of manuals, scraps from
  notebooks, and rolled-up fragments of yellow paper tape.
Apply paper tape to all four sides of the wafer, if you are active.
Properly seal the envelope flap with gummed kraft paper tape.
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