operating system


Definition of operating system 

: software that controls the operation of a computer and directs the processing of programs (as by assigning storage space in memory and controlling input and output functions)

Examples of operating system in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Apple’s iOS operating system has a 40% market share in the U.S. compared with Android’s 60% share, according to Kantar Worldpanel, a market research firm. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Apple’s App Store Under Fire in Supreme Court Case," 26 Nov. 2018 While the Mac operating system has many advantages and loyal fans, the Air’s improvements are mostly table stakes. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple redesigns the iPad Pro, breathes new life in the MacBook Air," 30 Oct. 2018 Eventually the two sides settled into the current equilibrium where, in most new cars, the carmakers’ operating systems simply live side-by-side with CarPlay and Android Auto. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Amazon’s Echo Auto is another quick fix for the broken state of in-car infotainment," 21 Sep. 2018 The Android operating system dominates the smartphone market, capturing over 80 percent of market share. NBC News, "Facebook confirms it records call history, stoking privacy furor," 26 Mar. 2018 The commission rejected Google’s argument that bundling its search and browsing apps with the Android operating system is necessary to monetize its investment in Android. Emily Stewart, Vox, "The European Union hits Google with a $5 billion fine," 18 July 2018 Those time-management controls go further than what is offered by rival Apple's iOS mobile operating system. Hayley Tsukayama, latimes.com, "At Google, 'responsibility' — not new technology — will take center stage," 7 May 2018 The company operates a suite of products, including Gmail, Maps, Chrome, YouTube, the Google Play Store and the Android operating system. Will Flannigan, azcentral, "What Google knows about me (and probably you, too)," 7 Apr. 2018 The Android operating system, a rival app store, Google Voice, and now the Nexus One are the first volleys against Apple's dominance in the smart-phone market. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of operating system

1961, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about operating system

Share operating system

Statistics for operating system

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for operating system

The first known use of operating system was in 1961

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for operating system

operating system


English Language Learners Definition of operating system

computers : the main program in a computer that controls the way the computer works and makes it possible for other programs to function

operating system


Kids Definition of operating system

: a program or series of programs that controls the operation of a computer and directs the processing of the user's programs

More from Merriam-Webster on operating system

Nglish: Translation of operating system for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about operating system

Comments on operating system

What made you want to look up operating system? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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