In computer science, software is a computer program you can load on your computer. Software includes everything from operating systems to game programs.

The word software was first used in print in 1958 by John Tukey, a statistician. Some experts suggest the actual word was coined in 1953 as a joke by Paul Niquette. He used the word to refer to the programs for a computer — as opposed to the hardware that made up the physical computer. You can purchase software, install software, and even fix software bugs.

Definitions of software

n (computer science) written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory

“the market for software is expected to expand”
computer software, package, software package, software program, software system
computer hardware, hardware
(computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system
show 12 examples...
hide 12 examples...
Microsoft disk operating system
an operating system developed by Bill Gates for personal computers
an open-source version of the UNIX operating system
Internet Explorer
a commercial browser
a freeware browser for Linux
a text browser
a freeware browser
a commercial browser
a commercial browser
a free, widely-used Web Map Server
a widely used search engine that uses text-matching techniques to find web pages that are important and relevant to a user's search
a widely used search engine for the web that finds information, news, images, products, finance
Ask Jeeves
a widely used search engine accepting plain English questions or phrases or terms
show 68 types...
hide 68 types...
alpha software
a first release of a software product that is usually tested only by the developers
authoring language
software that can be used to develop interactive computer programs without the technically demanding task of computer programming
beta software
software that has not yet been released but has received an alpha test and still has more bugs than a regular release
compatible software
software that can run on different computers without modification
compatible software
application software programs that share common conventions so they can be utilized together
CAD, computer-aided design
software used in art and architecture and engineering and manufacturing to assist in precision drawing
software that is provided without charge
software that can be used by a group of people who are working on the same information but may be distributed in space
OS, operating system
(computer science) software that controls the execution of computer programs and may provide various services
computer program, computer programme, program, programme
(computer science) a sequence of instructions that a computer can interpret and execute
function, procedure, routine, subprogram, subroutine
a set sequence of steps, part of larger computer program
software that is available free of charge; may be distributed for evaluation with a fee requested for additional features or a manual etc.
shrink-wrapped software
software on CD-ROMs that are boxed and shrink-wrapped and sold in stores (implying a widely supported standard platform)
computer software that obtains information from a user's computer without the user's knowledge or consent
supervisory software
specialized programs that reside permanently in the computer's main memory and control the processing of user's programs
documentation, software documentation
program listings or technical manuals describing the operation and use of programs
DBMS, database management system
a software system that facilitates the creation and maintenance and use of an electronic database
software that provides better performance than an earlier version did
DOS, disk operating system
an operating system that is on a disk
UNIX, UNIX operating system, UNIX system
trademark for a powerful operating system
anti-virus program
a computer program that checks a computer for viruses and prevents their spread
application, application program, applications programme
a program that gives a computer instructions that provide the user with tools to accomplish a task
binary, binary program
a pre-compiled, pre-linked program that is ready to run under a given operating system; a binary for one operating system will not run on a different operating system
a computer program that performs a series of instructions repeatedly until some specified condition is satisfied
malevolent program
a computer program designed to have undesirable or harmful effects
a short set of commands to correct a bug in a computer program
assembler, assembly program
a program to convert assembly language into machine language
checking program
a program that examines other computer programs for syntax errors
compiler, compiling program
(computer science) a program that decodes instructions written in a higher order language and produces an assembly language program
a program that helps in locating and correcting programming errors
interface, user interface
(computer science) a program that controls a display for the user (usually on a computer monitor) and that allows the user to interact with the system
interpreter, interpretive program
(computer science) a program that translates and executes source language statements one line at a time
job control
a program that is called to prepare each job to be run
library program
a program in a program library
monitor program, monitoring program
a program that observes and regulates and controls or verifies the operations of a data-processing system
object program, target program
a fully compiled or assembled program ready to be loaded into the computer
source program
a program written in a language from which statements are translated into machine language
a computer program that divides code up into functional components
tagger, tagging program
a computer program that attaches labels to the grammatical constituents of textual matter
relocatable program
a program that can be located in different parts of memory at different times
reusable program
a program that can be loaded once and executed repeatedly
Web Map Server, Web Map Service
a computer program that produces maps of spatially referenced data dynamically from geographic information
search engine
a computer program that retrieves documents or files or data from a database or from a computer network (especially from the internet)
self-adapting program
a program that can change its performance in response to its environment
spider, wanderer
a computer program that prowls the internet looking for publicly accessible resources that can be added to a database; the database can then be searched with a search engine
a screen-oriented interactive program enabling a user to lay out financial data on the screen
stored program
a program that is stored in the memory of the computer that executes it
executive program, supervisor, supervisory program
a program that controls the execution of other programs
syntax checker
a program to check natural language syntax
system program, systems program, systems software
a program (as an operating system or compiler or utility program) that controls some aspect of the operation of a computer
a computer program that looks for text that matches a given text
translating program, translator
a program that translates one programming language into another
service program, utility, utility program
(computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer
(trademark) an operating system with a graphical user interface
cataloged procedure
a set of control statements that have been placed in a library and can be retrieved by name
contingency procedure
an alternative to the normal procedure; triggered if an unusual but anticipated situation arises
library routine
a debugged routine that is maintained in a program library
random number generator
a routine designed to yield a random number
recursive routine
a routine that can call itself
reusable routine
a routine that can be loaded once and executed repeatedly
executive routine, supervisory routine
a routine that coordinates the operation of subroutines
tracing routine
a routine that provides a chronological record of the execution of a computer program
service routine, utility routine
a routine that can be used as needed
relational database management system
a database management system designed to manage a relational database
object-oriented database management system
a database management system designed to manage an object-oriented database
LISP program
a program written in LISP
FORTRAN program
a program written in FORTRAN
C program
a program written in C
Type of:
code, computer code
(computer science) the symbolic arrangement of data or instructions in a computer program or the set of such instructions

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.