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[pas-wurd, pahs-] /ˈpæsˌwɜrd, ˈpɑs-/
a secret word or expression used by authorized persons to prove their right to access, information, etc.
a word or other string of characters, sometimes kept secret or confidential, that must be supplied by a user in order to gain full or partial access to a multiuser computer system or its data resources.
Compare countersign.
Origin of password
1810-20; pass + word
1. watchword. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for password
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a good deal more talk; they decided what should be their password, and a great many other private matters.

  • Had his uncle known the password and forgotten to give it to him?

    The Royal Pawn of Venice Mrs. Lawrence Turnbull
  • Andreas, in his old camp-sentinel days, once challenged the emperor himself with the demand for the password.

    Among Famous Books John Kelman
  • But to meet a man who would give a password savored too much of crookdom.

    The Golden Face William Le Queux
  • Inside, doubtless, there were high jinks going on; but the password was denied to me.

    Dream Days Kenneth Grahame
British Dictionary definitions for password


a secret word, phrase, etc, that ensures admission or acceptance by proving identity, membership, etc
an action, quality, etc, that gains admission or acceptance
a sequence of characters used to gain access to a computer system
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
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Word Origin and History for password

"word appointed as a sign to distinguish friend from foe," 1798, from pass (v.) + word (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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password in Technology
An arbitrary string of characters chosen by a user or system administrator and used to authenticate the user when he attempts to log on, in order to prevent unauthorised access to his account.
A favourite activity among unimaginative computer nerds and crackers is writing programs which attempt to discover passwords by using lists of commonly chosen passwords such as people's names (spelled forward or backward). It is recommended that to defeat such methods passwords use a mixture of upper and lower case letters or digits and avoid proper names and real words. If you have trouble remembering random strings of characters, make up an acronym like "ihGr8trmP" ("I have great trouble remembering my password").
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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