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dongle

[dong-guh l, dawng‐] /ˈdɒŋ gəl, ˈdɔŋ‐/
noun, Digital Technology
1.
a hardware device attached to a computer without which a particular software program will not run: used to prevent unauthorized use.
2.
Also called wireless adapter. a device that can be plugged into a USB port to enable wireless access from a computer to an external Wi-Fi device, as a mobile phone, or to the Internet, via high-speed broadband, or to enable wireless connectivity in a printer or other peripheral.
Origin
1980-1985
1980-85; probably an arbitrary coinage
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for wireless adapter

dongle

/ˈdɒŋɡəl/
noun
1.
(computing) an electronic device that accompanies a software item to prevent the unauthorized copying of programs
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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