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dongle

[dong-guh l, dawng‐]
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 wire·less a·dap·ter. 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.
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Origin of dongle

First recorded in 1980–85; probably an arbitrary coinage
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for dongle

dongle

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