abbreviation or noun

variants or less commonly cpu
plural CPUs also cpus
: the component of a computer system that performs the system's basic operations (such as processing data), that exchanges data with the system's memory or peripherals, and that manages the system's other components
The speed at which the central processing unit (CPU) runs, measured in megahertz, is a good indicator of a computer's power …Brad Hill
These [gaming] consoles require operating systems and CPUs that are different from desktop computers.finance.yahoo.com
often used before another noun
CPU speed/performance

called also central processing unit, processor

Examples of CPU in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Plus, Meta has continued to roll out regular updates for its entry-level headset over the last year or so, boosting GPU speeds and CPU power, with the promise of more support to come. Quentyn Kennemer, The Verge, 13 Jan. 2024 While the company recently posted a better-than-expected set of Q3 results, with revenue expanding by 4% year-over-year to $5.8 billion, driven in part by strong sales of the Ryzen 7000 Series CPU, the company’s outlook for Q4 was weaker than expected due to weakness in the gaming sector. Trefis Team, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 Image: Apple Image: Apple Apple compared its latest M3 CPU and GPU performance against a 12-core PC laptop, the $1,299 MSI Prestige 13Evo A13M-050US. Tom Warren, The Verge, 31 Oct. 2023 Its four processor cores moved from ARM’s Cortex-A72 to the newer Cortex-A76, and the CPU clock speed has increased from 1.8 to 2.4 gigahertz. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Oct. 2023 Chromebook Plus devices must have: An Intel Core (i3 or higher) or AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU An IPS panel with at least 1080p resolution A 1080p webcam 8GB of RAM 128GB of storage There’s an interesting absence here: battery life. Monica Chin, The Verge, 2 Oct. 2023 Boasting a more powerful 600MHz ARM A8 CPU, this model offered longer battery life, a fingerprint resistant screen coating and improvements to the camera. USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2023 In response, Gaines took to social media to blast Trudeau’s policies which allow the Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) to have a gender self-identification Trans Inclusion Policy, announced earlier this year, that allows males to participate in women’s competitions based on gender alone. Scott Thompson, Fox News, 14 Aug. 2023 That means designing traditional computing engines–the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU)–to run complex A.I. workloads, as well as creating new, dedicated A.I. engines like neural processing units (NPUs). Michelle Johnston Holthaus, Fortune, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


central processing unit

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of CPU was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near CPU

Cite this Entry

“CPU.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/CPU. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

often capitalized C&P&U
: the part of a computer that does most of the data processing

central processing unit

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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