main·​frame | \ ˈmān-ˌfrām How to pronounce mainframe (audio) \

Definition of mainframe

1 : a large, powerful computer that can handle many tasks concurrently and is usually used commercially … the million-dollar mainframe computers that took up entire floors of corporate premises …— John Derbyshire
2 dated : a computer with its cabinet and internal circuits especially when considered separately from any peripherals connected to the computer

Examples of mainframe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

From the early 1970s through the 1980s, companies like IBM , Digital Equipment Corp. and Apple used mainframes, minicomputers and eventually PCs to make companies—and the first technologically adept superstar workers—more productive. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Where You Should Move to Make the Most Money: America’s Superstar Cities," 15 Dec. 2018 This was a gamble for many reasons, particularly because software was not seen as a product in its own right at this point in time, but rather something computer purchasers expected would come included with their mainframe. Marie Hicks, The Verge, "The long history behind the Google Walkout," 9 Nov. 2018 He and a friend from Queens College, Russell Artzt, founded Computer Associates International Inc. in 1976 to provide software for mainframe computers. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Charles Wang Found Wealth and Controversy in Computer Industry," 26 Oct. 2018 Similar partnerships have sprung up around the country—in Ohio, for example, IBM is using Per Scholas to train mainframe operators versed in the programming language Cobol, after many of its Cobol-fluent employees retired. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Tech Companies Try to Retrain the Workers They're Displacing," 16 Mar. 2018 The company traditionally made products that run on mainframes, but in recent years has entered the cloud computing market. Bloomberg,, "Broadcom agrees to buy CA Technologies for $18.9 billion," 12 July 2018 Once, my team inadvertently erased a major automaker’s American customer database, due to a miscommunication over a change to systems that synchronized consumer website information with a mainframe that managed warranty records. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Atlanta's Boring Ransomware Attack," 28 Mar. 2018 Revenue from its systems division, which includes mainframes, rose 32 percent to $3.3 billion. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "IBM Ends 22-Quarter Streak of Falling Revenue," 18 Jan. 2018 CA Technologies, formerly known as Computer Associates, was founded in 1976 as a maker of business programs for mainframe computers. New York Times, "Broadcom Reaches Nearly $19 Billion Deal to Buy CA Technologies," 11 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of mainframe

1957, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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The first known use of mainframe was in 1957

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English Language Learners Definition of mainframe

: a large and very fast computer that can do many jobs at once

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an enemy or opponent

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