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central processing unit: the key component of a computer system, which contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions.
Also called central processor, microprocessor.
Origin of CPU
First recorded in 1965-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for CPU


central processing unit
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 CPU


by 1970, abbreviation of central processing unit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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CPU in Science
Abbreviation of central processing unit
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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CPU in Culture

CPU definition

An abbreviation for central processing unit. The “brain” of a computer, the CPU is where data manipulation actually takes place. The results of these manipulations are then stored in the computer memory. Microprocessors perform this function in personal computers.

The 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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