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 patient-specific stents developed by Gildea and an engineering team are designed using CT scans and proprietary 3D visualization software, and printed using a 3D printer. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Airway stents developed by Cleveland Clinic doctor cleared for use by FDA," 8 Jan. 2020 Dell’s Optimizer software, which debuts on the Latitude 9510, analyzes your usage patterns and tries to save you time with routine tasks. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "Dell's Latitude 9510 shakes up corporate laptops with 5G, machine learning, and thin bezels," 8 Jan. 2020 And Elastic, which builds software that runs on Amazon’s cloud platform, sued Amazon for copying its branding to introduce a rival offering. New York Times, "Sonos, Squeezed by the Tech Giants, Sues Google," 7 Jan. 2020 The American government reels off a long list of problems with the Chinese system, such as trade-secret theft, failure to respect intellectual property and failure to license software (a $6.8bn hole, according to the American government). The Economist, "Chinese inventiveness shows the weakness of the law," 4 Jan. 2020 Most of the rest were high-end software, math and statistics jobs of the type that will probably never be options for the bulk of middle-class Americans. Noah Smith, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: The middle class risks consuming itself," 30 Dec. 2019 In a career that spanned five decades, Mr. Segel founded 22 companies in fields as diverse as publishing, minting, photography, aviation, software, hospitality, television broadcasting, and behavior modification., "Joseph Segel, founder of the QVC Shopping Network, dies - The Boston Globe," 27 Dec. 2019 Using editing software, cut and paste yourselves into the foreground of your favorite Disney image while erasing strangers in the background. Scott Craven, azcentral, "The VIP's guide to Disneyland, from Club 33 to signature suites," 23 Dec. 2019 The excuse may be selling computer hardware and software, or teaching developers about new ways to code. Owen Thomas,, "San Francisco is too busy, no one holds conferences there anymore," 11 Dec. 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Software.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 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

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

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