• (British) IPA: /kəmˈpjuːtə/, /kəmˈpjuːʔə/
  • (America) IPA: /kəmˈpjutɚ/, [kəmˈpʰjuɾɚ]

computer (plural computers)

  1. (now, rare, chiefly, historical) A person employed to perform computations; one who computes. [from 17th c.]
    • 1927, J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays, page 173
      Only a few years ago Mr. Powers, an American computer, disproved a hypothesis about prime numbers which had held the field for more than 250 years.
    • 2003, Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, BCA, page 116:
      One Harvard computer, Annie Jump Cannon, used her repetitive acquaintance with the stars to devise a system of stellar classifications so practical that it is still in use today.
  2. (by restriction, chiefly, historical) A male computer, where the female computer is called a computress.
  3. A programmable electronic device that performs mathematical calculations and logical operations, especially one that can process, store and retrieve large amounts of data very quickly; now especially, a small one for personal or home use employed for manipulating text or graphics, accessing the Internet, or playing games or media. [from 20th c.]
    Synonyms: processor, 'puter (informal), box (slang), machine, calculator
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