soft·​ware | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwer \

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

Amazon and Microsoft are currently the two largest providers of public cloud services that corporate customers use to offload their computing and software needs. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Cloud Should Shine for Amazon, Microsoft Earnings," 12 Jan. 2019 Better sensors and software could address this problem. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 But there is no better software package for amateur and pro photographers — or aspiring meme creators who just really like to mess around on Photoshop. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The first 11 apps to install on your new Mac," 27 Dec. 2018 Last January, Facebook changed its software algorithms to show users more posts from other people and fewer posts from publishers and brands. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook needs a ‘reset’ button for your friend list," 27 Dec. 2018 This includes not selling facial recognition software to identify targets where lethal force may be used. Dina Bass, The Seattle Times, "Privacy groups urge tech firms to sign Safe Face Pledge to restrict use of facial recognition," 12 Dec. 2018 But Evans, who has spent 20 years in the technology industry and has one startup and multiple software development jobs already behind her, is primarily excited about using $GUAP to illustrate the power of black consumers. Morgen Peck, Glamour, "Cryptocurrency Is Not Just a Boys' Club," 11 Dec. 2018 Platforms like Unreal Engine and Unity, development software that offers free or low-cost services, can turn anyone into a one-woman game-development studio. Marie Claire, "She's Got Game," 5 Dec. 2018 The school teaches software development through group learning, rather than traditional courses. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "5 Things You Didn’t Know About Priyanka Chopra," 1 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for software

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for software

The first known use of software was in 1958

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More Definitions for software



English Language Learners Definition of software

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


soft·​ware | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwer \

Kids Definition of software

: the programs and related information used by a computer

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More from Merriam-Webster on software

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with software

Spanish Central: Translation of software

Nglish: Translation of software for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on software

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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