[ dih-lim-i-ter ]


, Computers.
  1. a blank space, comma, or other character or symbol that indicates the beginning or end of a character string, word, or data item.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of delimiter1

First recorded in 1960–65; delimit + -er 1

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Example Sentences

Transcriber's Note: Italics in the text are indicated by the use of an underscore as delimiter, thusly.


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More About Delimiter

What is a delimiter?

A delimiter is a character or symbol used in computer code that separates words, data, or characters. Delimiters are used to mark the beginning or end of something.

In code and many programming languages, many types of data or statements must be made using specific parameters and conditions in order to get the desired result. Every programming language is different, but most will employ several delimiters. For example, in a coding function meant to read the length of two sides and the height of two sides, each length and height will be delimited by a comma, as in 18, 20, 18, 20. This set might itself be surrounded by delimiters, such as (18, 20, 18, 20), so that the system running the program will understand where the data begins and ends.

Most programming languages will establish their own conventions for how to write data and what delimiters are to be used. Some of the most common delimiters are semicolons (;), commas (,), asterisks (*), apostrophes (’), and quotation marks (“”). 

Example: Claudia instantly recognized the programming language because of its unusual delimiters.

Where does delimiter come from?

The first records of the term delimiter are from around the 1960s. It combines the term delimit, meaning “to mark the limits or boundaries,” and the suffix -er, which creates nouns that are the agent of the action being described. A delimiter marks the beginning or end—that is, the boundary, of an item.

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

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How is delimiter used in real life?

Delimiters are most commonly used in discussions of computer programming, but they can also be discussed in any text document that requires formatting in a variety of specialized fields.


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True or False?

Delimiters mark the beginning or end of something in a programming language.