- a programmable electronic device designed to accept data, perform prescribed mathematical and logical operations at high speed, and display the results of these operations. Mainframes, desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones are some of the different types of computers.Compare analog computer, digital computer.
- a person who computes; computist.
Origin of computer
- a device, usually electronic, that processes data according to a set of instructions. The digital computer stores data in discrete units and performs arithmetical and logical operations at very high speed. The analog computer has no memory and is slower than the digital computer but has a continuous rather than a discrete input. The hybrid computer combines some of the advantages of digital and analog computersSee also digital computer, analog computer, hybrid computer
- (as modifier)computer technology Related prefix: cyber-
- a person who computes or calculates
1640s, "one who calculates," agent noun from compute (v.). Meaning "calculating machine" (of any type) is from 1897; in modern use, "programmable digital electronic computer" (1945 under this name; theoretical from 1937, as Turing machine). ENIAC (1946) usually is considered the first. Computer literacy is recorded from 1970; an attempt to establish computerate (adjective, on model of literate) in this sense in the early 1980s didn't catch on. Computerese "the jargon of programmers" is from 1960, as are computerize and computerization.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A New York Congressman says the use of computers to record personal data on individuals, such as their credit background, "is just frightening to me." [news article, March 17, 1968]
- A programmable machine that performs high-speed processing of numbers, as well as of text, graphics, symbols, and sound. All computers contain a central processing unit that interprets and executes instructions; input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse, through which data and commands enter the computer; memory that enables the computer to store programs and data; and output devices, such as printers and display screens, that show the results after the computer has processed data.