• synonyms


[sawft-wair, soft-]
See more synonyms for software on Thesaurus.com
  1. Computers. the programs used to direct the operation of a computer, as well as documentation giving instructions on how to use them.Compare hardware(def 5).
  2. anything that is not hardware but is used with hardware, especially audiovisual materials, as film, tapes, records, etc.: a studio fully equipped but lacking software.
  3. Television Slang. prepackaged materials, as movies or reruns, used to fill out the major part of a station's program schedule.
Show More

Origin of software

First recorded in 1955–60; soft + ware1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for software

program, spreadsheet, freeware, groupware, shareware, courseware, vaporware

Examples from the Web for software

Contemporary Examples of software

Historical Examples of software

British Dictionary definitions for software


  1. computing the programs that can be used with a particular computer systemCompare hardware (def. 2)
  2. video cassettes and discs for use with a particular video system
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for software


1851, soft wares, "woolen or cotton fabrics," also, "relatively perishable consumer goods," from soft + ware (n.). The computer sense is a separate coinage from 1960, based on hardware.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

software in Science


  1. The programs, programming languages, and data that direct the operations of a computer system. Word processing programs and Internet browsers are examples of software. Compare hardware.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

software in Culture


The programs and instructions that run a computer, as opposed to the actual physical machinery and devices that compose the hardware.

Show More
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.