[ ey-sing-kruh-nuhs ]
/ eɪˈsɪŋ krə nəs /
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not occurring at the same time.
Digital Technology. (of a computer or other electrical machine) having each operation started only after the preceding operation is completed.
Computers, Telecommunications. of or relating to operation without the use of fixed time intervals (opposed to synchronous).



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of asynchronous

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

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