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 Hounsfield’s natural talents propelled him to lead the team building the most advanced mainframe computer available in Britain. Edmund S. Higgins, The Conversation, 30 Sep. 2021 Their best customers at first were technology startups, companies not already committed to mainframe computers or backroom servers. Matt Day And Bloomberg, Fortune, 5 July 2021 Keppel combed through thousands of automobile-registration documents, laboriously feeding them into a huge mainframe computer to analyze and sort. al, 28 June 2021 Alternatively, mainframe developers (or those with specialized integrations skillsets) are required to manually construct digital services atop these applications. Romi Stein, Forbes, 1 June 2021 That is evident, for example, in the way Alex Lorick, a former South Florida nightclub bouncer, was able to become a mainframe technician at IBM. Neil Irwin New York Times, Star Tribune, 8 June 2021 That is evident, for example, in the way Alex Lorick, a former South Florida nightclub bouncer, was able to become a mainframe technician at I.B.M. New York Times, 5 June 2021 To illustrate, consider this real example: A manufacturing conglomerate has an engineer build a Javascript connector for remote access to a mainframe but inadvertently exposes it to the internet. Rob Gurzeev, Forbes, 19 May 2021 That dear little Wang mainframe, no bigger than a motel refrigerator, was a gamechanger., 7 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for mainframe

Time Traveler

The first known use of mainframe was in 1957

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Dictionary Entries Near mainframe

Maine, Gulf of


main gauche

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mainframe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of mainframe

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

More from Merriam-Webster on mainframe

Nglish: Translation of mainframe for Spanish Speakers


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