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High-level computer programming language, one of the first widely used languages and for many years the most popular language in the business community. It developed from the 1959 Conference on Data Systems Languages, a joint initiative between the U.S. government and the private sector. COBOL was created to fulfill two major objectives: portability (ability of programs to be run with minimum modification on computers from different manufacturers) and readability (ease with which a program can be read like ordinary English). It ceased to be widely used in the 1990s.
Variants of COBOL
COBOL in full Common Business-Oriented Language.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on COBOL, visit Britannica.com.