Computer Dictionary Online

Medical Dictionary   Law Dictionary   Legal Dictionary   Website Design

0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p  q  r  s  t  u  v  w  x  y  z 


engine

<jargon> 1. A piece of hardware that encapsulates some function but can't be used without some kind of front end. Today we have, especially, "print engine": the guts of a laser printer.

2. An analogous piece of software; notionally, one that does a lot of noisy crunching, such as a "database engine", or "search engine".

The hackish senses of "engine" are actually close to its original, pre-Industrial-Revolution sense of a skill, clever device, or instrument (the word is cognate to "ingenuity"). This sense had not been completely eclipsed by the modern connotation of power-transducing machinery in Charles Babbage's time, which explains why he named the stored-program computer that he designed in 1844 the "Analytical Engine".

[Jargon File]

(1996-05-31)


Contact the Computer Dictionary Online  ::  Link to the Computer Dictionary Online  ::  Disclaimer for Computer Dictionary Online

Computer Dictionary Online
Copyright © 2017