[ ey-sing-kruh-nuhs ]
/ eɪˈsɪŋ krə nəs /
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not occurring at the same time: The factory has two asynchronous production lines with end products paired in final assembly and shipped to buyers.
(especially in education) occurring or able to be completed independently according to a person’s own self-paced schedule or within a broad window of time, but not coordinated to be completed in real time with another participant: Distance learners may earn participation points by attending real-time video chats, or by posting messages and replies in asynchronous discussion boards.
Digital Technology. relating to or being a computer operation that can occur independently, without waiting for another event:Asynchronous responses are returned to the client side without blocking for the completion of the database processing request.
Computers, Telecommunications. of, relating to, or operating without the use of fixed-time intervals coordinated by a clock, as data transmitted one byte or character at a time.
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Compare synchronous.

Origin of asynchronous

First recorded in 1740–50; a-6 + synchronous

OTHER WORDS FROM asynchronous

a·syn·chro·nous·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does asynchronous mean?

Asynchronous refers to something not occurring at the same time as another thing.

The opposite of asynchronous is synchronous, which means “occurring at the same time” or “simultaneous.” A face-to-face conversation is considered synchronous, because people are communicating in real time, whereas corresponding over email and text message—where the recipient can respond at a later time—is asynchronous.

Example: The server could only download updates for each game asynchronously, one after the other.

Where does asynchronous come from?

Asynchronous is recorded by the mid-1700s. It combines the Greek-based prefix a-, meaning “without, not,” and synchronous, meaning “occurring at the same time.” The word synchronous itself is also from Greek, combining syn- (“together”) and chronos (“time”).

The term asynchronous has specialized applications in several disciplines:

  • In computer programming, asynchronous programming refers to a program that can only begin a new task once the preceding operation is completed.
  • In education, asynchronous learning is an educational method that allows students to work at their own pace outside the constraints of a traditional classroom. Email and online discussion boards are common tools.

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What are some other forms of asynchronous?

What are some synonyms for asynchronous?


What are some words that share a root or word element with asynchronous?



What are some words that often get used in discussing asynchronous?



What are some words asynchronous may be commonly confused with?

How is asynchronous used in real life?

Asynchronous, as noted, is often used in reference to computer programming, online education, and digital communication.

Try using asynchronous!

Which student below, A or B, is learning in an asynchronous environment?

A. This student is taking a class that involves working through online modules, post threads on a discussion board, checking in with the professor over email.
B. This student is taking a class that involves short lectures followed by group discussions and activities facilitated by the teacher.

How to use asynchronous in a sentence