program

noun
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm How to pronounce program (audio) \

Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [ Late Latin programma, from Greek ] : a public notice
2a : a brief usually printed outline of the order to be followed, of the features to be presented, and the persons participating (as in a public performance)
b : the performance of a program especially : a performance broadcast on radio or television
3 : a plan or system under which action may be taken toward a goal
6a : a sequence of coded instructions that can be inserted into a mechanism (such as a computer)
b dated : a complete plan for solving a problem by the use of a mechanism (such as a computer) that includes both instructions to be inserted into the mechanism and plans for human activities such as interpreting output
c : the genes or sequences of DNA or RNA that are part of an organism or cell and encode or determine a process, trait, or behavior … a mouse in which a tiny but crucial bit of the genetic program has been eliminated.— Bruce Fellman also : a process, trait, or behavior determined by or as if by the genetic material of an organism Orb webs are marvels of geometry and construction. They are built according to a complex behavioral program, which is highly flexible in some respects and very precise in others. — Michael H. Robinson

program

verb
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm\
variants: or less commonly
programmed or programed; programming or programing

Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to arrange or furnish a program of or for : bill
b : to enter in a program
2 : to work out a sequence of operations to be performed by (a mechanism, such as a computer) : to provide with a program
3a : to insert a program for (a particular action) into or as if into a mechanism (such as a computer)
b : to control by or as if by a program
c(1) : to code in an organism's program
(2) : to provide with a biological program cells programmed to synthesize hemoglobin
4 : to predetermine the thinking, behavior, or operations of as if by computer programming children are programmed into violence— Lisa A. Richette

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from program

Verb

programmability \ (ˌ)prō-​ˌgra-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce programmability (audio) \ noun
programmable \ ˈprō-​ˌgra-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce programmable (audio) \ adjective or noun

Synonyms for program

Synonyms: Noun

agenda, calendar, docket, schedule, timetable

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of program in a Sentence

Noun

a program of regular dental checkups the program will tell us the scheduled order of musical numbers

Verb

He programmed the computer to calculate his monthly expenses and earnings. She is learning how to program in school. Can you help me program my cell phone?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brown had been enduring a lot of battles on a lot of fronts at Texas, a program that sits at the cross-currents of obnoxious wealth and craven political power and intensely unrealistic expectations relative to history. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Why Mack Brown's return to North Carolina at age 67 makes perfect sense," 17 July 2019 In June, authorities in the country's capital Harare and Bulawayo, its second city, announced a water rationing program which would see residents accessing tap water once a week. CNN, "Zimbabwe drought leaves more than two million people without clean water," 17 July 2019 Eventually, Havard was accepted into a PhD program at the University of Northern Colorado. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Horns Down: Where Texas ranks among the 'most-hated programs' in college sports," 17 July 2019 Kids can use a bug net, discover butterflies and make lots of art during a program that is designed for children 12 and under, especially kids in preschool and early elementary school, and their caregivers. Rachel K. Hindery, chicagotribune.com, "Kids can learn how butterflies migrate, how pollinators produce fruit at Insect Fest," 16 July 2019 Winery owner Bob Matus will talk wine, and OHC executive director Liz Schultz will present a mini-history program on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Wine calendar: Crocker Park Wine Festival, Opal on Pearl Rosé and chocolate, more," 16 July 2019 The Chronicle assesses the effectiveness of a San Francisco program that offers homeless people a bus ticket home. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "SF proposes first safe parking lot for homeless living out of vehicles," 15 July 2019 The 2018 Farm Bill created a lending program that, if funded by Congress, would support local organizations providing legal assistance to heirs’ property owners. Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, "How to Close Heirs’ Property Loopholes," 15 July 2019 Last week marked the start of the third year of Critter Camp, a program that serves to connect children with animals. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Happy tails: Children learn at Carroll County Humane Society Critter Camp," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The beautiful messiness of humanity cannot be quantified into data columns, programmed, scaled, and engineered. Jessica Rosenworcel, WIRED, "To Really 'Disrupt,' Tech Needs to Listen to Actual Researchers," 26 June 2019 Jen Wieczner, Robert Hackett, and Jeff Roberts—the team behind The Ledger newsletter—conceived of, programmed, speaker-wrangled, and otherwise poured their hearts and souls into the event in the foggy Hamptons. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "What Big Banks Say About Being 'Screwed' By Technological Change — Data Sheet," 21 June 2019 In the case of ETH’s project, the engineers programmed a robotic arm to deposit layers of rocks on top of each other. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Watch a robot build columns out of only gravel and string," 15 Oct. 2018 Both Jefferson County programs playing Thursday in the 24th annual Owensboro Health/KHSAA Softball State Tournament had a rough day at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro. Nate Bryan, The Courier-Journal, "Ballard, Butler fall in first round of KHSAA state softball tournament," 7 June 2018 Gandy, with Gandy2 Lighting Design, programs the LED lights that top the seven freeway bridges over Woodhead, Mandell, Dunlavy, Hazard, Graustark and two on Montrose Boulevard. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Meet the man who controls the colored lights over the Southwest Freeway bridges," 5 June 2018 First, some people tend to make more oil than other people due to their genetics as we are genetically programmed to make a certain amount of oil. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "What Is Acne? What Causes Pimples and How to Treat Them," 27 June 2019 Conversely, Parker embraced the rituals that Johnson sneered at, as if he were programmed to please. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Luke Parker Is The New Chad Johnson — But Even Worse," 20 June 2019 Presumably they will be programmed to read them too, since novels to this point have depended on a public with a little disposable income. Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'program.' 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 program

Noun

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for program

Noun

French programme agenda, public notice, from Greek programma, from prographein to write before, from pro- before + graphein to write — more at carve

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about program

Statistics for program

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for program

The first known use of program was in 1633

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for program

program

noun

English Language Learners Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a plan of things that are done in order to achieve a specific result
: a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do
: a thin book or a piece of paper that gives information about a concert, play, sports game, etc.

program

verb

English Language Learners Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (a computer) a set of instructions to perform a particular action : to create a program for (a computer)
: to give (a machine) a set of instructions to perform a particular action
: to make (a person or animal) behave or think in a particular way

program

noun
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm\

Kids Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a brief statement or written outline (as of a concert, play, ceremony, or religious service)
2 : performance sense 2 a television program
3 : a plan of action … this little town had the most successful school lunch program in the state.— Andrew Clements, Frindle
4 : a set of step-by-step instructions that tell a computer to do something with data

program

verb
programmed\ ˈprō-​ˌgramd , -​grəmd \; programming

Kids Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (a computer) a set of instructions : provide with a program

program

noun
pro·​gram
variants: or chiefly British programme \ ˈprō-​ˌgram How to pronounce programme (audio) , -​grəm How to pronounce programme (audio) \

Medical Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the genes or sequences of DNA or RNA that are part of an organism or cell and encode or determine a process, trait, or behavior

program

transitive verb
variants: or chiefly British programme
programmed or programed; programming or programing

Medical Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to code in an organism's program
2 : to provide with a biological program cells programmed to synthesize hemoglobin

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on program

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with program

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for program

Spanish Central: Translation of program

Nglish: Translation of program for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of program for Arabic Speakers

Comments on program

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

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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