noun, often attributive
WYS·​I·​WYG | \ ˈwi-zē-ˌwig How to pronounce WYSIWYG (audio) , -zə- How to pronounce WYSIWYG (audio) \

Definition of WYSIWYG

: a display generated by word-processing or desktop-publishing software that exactly reflects the document as it would appear in its finished state

Did You Know?

In the early 1980s, the phrase "what you see is what you get" was abbreviated to "WYSIWYG" by computer users who sought a term to describe software that accurately reflects the appearance of the finished product. WYSIWYG interfaces eliminate the need for users to master complex formatting codes, allowing them to concentrate instead on design. Originally used in word processing and desktop publishing, they are now found in Web editors and other programs used to create electronic documents. The word WYSIWYG is a noun, but it is often used attributively (modifying another noun) as in our first example sentence.

First Known Use of WYSIWYG

1982, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for WYSIWYG

what you see is what you get

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Time Traveler for WYSIWYG

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The first known use of WYSIWYG was in 1982

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Cite this Entry

“WYSIWYG.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/WYSIWYG. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of WYSIWYG

computers : a display on a computer that shows the exact appearance of a printed document

More from Merriam-Webster on WYSIWYG

Nglish: Translation of WYSIWYG for Spanish Speakers

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