often capitalized C&P&U
: the component of a computer system that performs the basic operations (such as processing data) of the system, that exchanges data with the system's memory or peripherals, and that manages the system's other components

called also processor

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Besides unveiling the new chip, Anderson also showed several comparison benchmarks that put the top-end 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X running about 55 percent to 15 percent faster than Intel’s current top-end Core i9-7900X CPU. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, 30 July 2017 The chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, Intel's only real competitor for the CPUs that run personal computers, ran into a wall over the past decade as it got distracted trying to crack the mobile market. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 28 June 2017 The Aero 15 gives you a 2.8GHz seventh generation Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. Christopher Null, WIRED, 10 June 2017 The PC benchmarking site of Passmark Software reports tests involving AMD CPUs accounted for almost 26% of all x86-compatible submissions in the latest quarter, up from under 21% in the prior quarter and under 18% in the same quarter a year ago. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 6 July 2017 On that note, Intel has introduced a new feature that ensures M.2 storage is connected directly to the CPU. Mark Walton, Ars Technica, 4 July 2017 The mannequin was dressed in a deep purple dress with accessories made from computer parts, including a CPU necklace and a USB cable. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2017 The CPU lives in a sturdy base, from which a single post rises to support the screen. Wired Staff, WIRED, 30 June 2017 The company’s already made a splash this year with its Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, 26 June 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cpu.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


central processing unit

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cpu was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near cpu

Cite this Entry

“Cpu.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cpu. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

often capitalized C&P&U
: the part of a computer that does most of the data processing

More from Merriam-Webster on cpu

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?