wet·​ware ˈwet-ˌwer How to pronounce wetware (audio)
: the human brain or a human being considered especially with respect to human logical and computational capabilities

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When the computer terms "software" and "hardware" sprang to life in the mid-20th century, a surge of visions and inventions using the new technology immediately followed . . . along with a revival of the combining form "ware." An early coinage was "wetware," which began circuiting techie circles in the 1970s as a name for the software installed by Mother Nature (a.k.a. the brain). Other "ware" names for people and their noggins have made a blip in our language - for example, "meatware" and "liveware" - but none have become firmly established in the general lexicon like "wetware."

Examples of wetware in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An electrical, analog-to-digital interface from wetware to hardware has been a long time coming. IEEE Spectrum, 28 May 2022 One of the keys: modeling computing hardware after the computing wetware in human brains. John Koetsier, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023 The researchers there have been working on stuff like this for awhile: It was founded in 2001 with the belief that the computers of the coming century will be made of chemical or living systems, or wetware, that are going to work in harmony with hardware and software. Charlotte Hu, Popular Science, 27 Feb. 2023 Bugs in the wetware. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 13 Dec. 2013 By using one of his Neuralink microchip implanted into the cerebral cortex, mankind can augment its biological tissue, its wetware, with a machine upgrade. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 14 Feb. 2023 The steps toward the Singularity will not be progressive improvement of general AI but of the gradual blending of the biological wetware of the human brain with the artificial hardware of computer technology. Kyle Munkittrick, Discover Magazine, 25 June 2011 Where does the mind-ware stop and the wetware start? Quanta Magazine, 30 Sep. 2021 But the rules themselves - the brain’s algorithms - are independent of the wetware. Gabriel A. Silva, Forbes, 27 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wetware.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


wet + software

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wetware was in 1975


Dictionary Entries Near wetware

Cite this Entry

“Wetware.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wetware. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

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