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 In the early 2010s, Mozilla tried to counter this strategic threat by developing its own mobile operating system called Firefox OS that was built entirely on Web technologies. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Mozilla lays off 70 people as non-search revenue fails to materialize," 15 Jan. 2020 Image: Apple and Google To celebrate World Emoji Day (which, yes, is apparently a thing now), Apple and Google have released a preview of the new emoji which will be arriving on their mobile operating systems later this year. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Why does Apple hate falafel?," 17 July 2019 Apple’s new phone will be called the iPhone X, according to a leak of its latest mobile operating system. Christine Harvey, Bloomberg.com, "Everything You Need to Know This Morning From Daybreak (Podcast)," 11 Sep. 2017 The movie follows a man who falls in love with a computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Harper's BAZAAR, "Joaquin Phoenix Calls His Fiancée Rooney Mara "a Filthy Dragon"," 12 Jan. 2020 There's no doubt macOS is a gorgeous-looking operating system. David Nield, Popular Science, "Four hidden Mac tweaks to speed up your computer," 5 Jan. 2020 While the scan did detect real problems — some states, for example, are not using standard protections to prevent email spoofing and others are using outdated operating systems — none of these problems are particularly revelatory, experts said. Jessica Huseman, ProPublica, "Report on Election Security Gains Attention, and a Sharp Rebuke," 13 Sep. 2019 Microsoft usually releases patches for operating systems monthly, so hackers have learned to target older, unsupported systems. Tami Abdollah, latimes.com, "Outdated software could make new voting systems vulnerable to hackers," 14 July 2019 The keynote address is expected to focus on updates to Apple’s iOS, Mac, Watch, and TV operating systems, and potentially offer a look at a new desktop computer, the Mac Pro. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "How to watch Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote," 3 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of operating system

1961, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for operating system

Time Traveler

The first known use of operating system was in 1961

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Statistics for operating system

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Operating system.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/operating%20system. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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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

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