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 School districts should replace antiquated college & career readiness software with platforms that emphasize career at least as much as college. Ryan Craig, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 The software, which would effectively act like a narc embedded on people’s iPhones, could have unintended consequences, critics said, despite Apple’s assurances that it would be used solely to stop child predators. Declan Harty, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 The photographer, who teaches at Georgetown University, uses computer software to stitch the frames together. Washington Post, 15 Oct. 2021 Since March, GoGuardian’s Beacon software has identified nine students as having a severe mental health crisis. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 15 Oct. 2021 That’s the software experience, of course, which includes plenty of Google apps. Chris Smith, BGR, 15 Oct. 2021 More than 2,000 scientists from across the world are now plugged into Opentrons hardware-software ecosystem. Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 About 26 million consumers used EngageSmart’s software last year, almost all without knowing anything about the company, which has grown to almost 700 employees as of the end of June., 15 Oct. 2021 Qi of Glean and McCreary of Optum are both talking to Mosaic ML, a startup spun out of MIT that is developing software tricks designed to increase the efficiency of machine-learning training. Will Knight, Wired, 14 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near software

soft turtle


software engineering

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Statistics for software

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Software.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce software (audio) \

Kids Definition of software

: the programs and related information used by a computer

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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