soft·​ware | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwer How to pronounce software (audio) \

Definition of software

: something used or associated with and usually contrasted with hardware: such as
a : programs for a computer accounting software
b dated : the entire set of programs, procedures, and related documentation associated with a mechanical or electronic system and especially a computer system
c : materials for use with audiovisual equipment … television programs, music, and movies are now called software, by the way …— Robert Bixby

Examples of software in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Twin Cities is not Silicon Valley, but its tech scene has scored several successes this past year, all in the realm of software. Star Tribune, "Arctic Wolf will move its headquarters to Eden Prairie from Silicon Valley," 24 Oct. 2020 While most of the software developed by the counties has been put into place, the county spent $30 million in taxpayer dollars on a case-tracking system that was never completed. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Three candidates competing to unseat Dallas County commissioners Theresa Daniel, John Wiley Price," 23 Oct. 2020 Citing national security concerns, the White House started by trying to curtail the sale of American software and circuitry to Huawei before finally enacting sweeping restrictions against its suppliers including TSMC., "Huawei Outhustles Trump by Stockpiling Chips Needed for China 5G," 22 Oct. 2020 Datto Holding, a maker of backup software, raised $594 million in its IPO. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Is it the end for Quibi?," 21 Oct. 2020 Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs and former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt famously fell out over Google’s launch of competing mobile software. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Google’s Exclusive Search Deals With Apple at Heart of U.S. Lawsuit," 20 Oct. 2020 The Justice Department accused Microsoft of using restrictive contracts with PC makers and others to inhibit the distribution of the software of Netscape Communications, the commercial pioneer in the browser market. Steve Lohr, New York Times, "Google Up Against Laws That Thwarted Microsoft (and Others Since 1890)," 20 Oct. 2020 To initially install its data-destroying, self-spreading code on its victims' machines, Sandworm hijacked the update mechanism of MEDoc, a common piece of Ukrainian accounting software. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "US Indicts Sandworm, Russia's Most Destructive Cyberwar Unit," 19 Oct. 2020 But a recent study of software built by Optum offered a rare look under the hood. Casey Ross @caseymross, STAT, "From a small town in North Carolina to big-city hospitals, how software infuses racism into U.S. health care," 13 Oct. 2020

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

1958, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for software

Time Traveler

The first known use of software was in 1958

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Statistics for software

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Software.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for software


How to pronounce software (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of software

: the programs that run on a computer and perform certain functions


soft·​ware | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwer How to pronounce software (audio) \

Kids Definition of software

: the programs and related information used by a computer

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More from Merriam-Webster on software

Nglish: Translation of software for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of software for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about software

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