program

noun
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm How to pronounce program (audio) \

Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [Late Latin programma, from Greek] : a public notice
2a : a brief usually printed outline of the order to be followed, of the features to be presented, and the persons participating (as in a public performance)
b : the performance of a program especially : a performance broadcast on radio or television
3 : a plan or system under which action may be taken toward a goal
6a : a sequence of coded instructions that can be inserted into a mechanism (such as a computer)
b dated : a complete plan for solving a problem by the use of a mechanism (such as a computer) that includes both instructions to be inserted into the mechanism and plans for human activities such as interpreting output
c : the genes or sequences of DNA or RNA that are part of an organism or cell and encode or determine a process, trait, or behavior … a mouse in which a tiny but crucial bit of the genetic program has been eliminated.— Bruce Fellman also : a process, trait, or behavior determined by or as if by the genetic material of an organism Orb webs are marvels of geometry and construction. They are built according to a complex behavioral program, which is highly flexible in some respects and very precise in others. — Michael H. Robinson

program

verb
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm \
variants: or less commonly
programmed or programed; programming or programing

Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to arrange or furnish a program of or for : bill
b : to enter in a program
2 : to work out a sequence of operations to be performed by (a mechanism, such as a computer) : to provide with a program
3a : to insert a program for (a particular action) into or as if into a mechanism (such as a computer)
b : to control by or as if by a program
c(1) : to code in an organism's program
(2) : to provide with a biological program cells programmed to synthesize hemoglobin
4 : to predetermine the thinking, behavior, or operations of as if by computer programming children are programmed into violence— Lisa A. Richette

Other Words from program

Verb

programmability \ (ˌ)prō-​ˌgra-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce program (audio) \ noun
programmable \ ˈprō-​ˌgra-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce program (audio) \ adjective or noun

Synonyms for program

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of program in a Sentence

Noun a program of regular dental checkups the program will tell us the scheduled order of musical numbers Verb He programmed the computer to calculate his monthly expenses and earnings. She is learning how to program in school. Can you help me program my cell phone?
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The test distribution is part of a statewide, Arkansas Department of Health program. Janelle Jessen, Arkansas Online, 15 Jan. 2022 The new inventory is needed because the city may adopt a Mills Act program, which would encourage the preservation of older, notable structures by offering tax benefits to the owners. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Jan. 2022 Arizona restricts one program—which awards grants to increase per pupil funding—only to schools that don’t require the use of face coverings, the Treasury Department said. Amara Omeokwe, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 The coin is one of five new designs that will be rolled out this year as part of the American Women Quarters (AWQ) program. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Jan. 2022 The program, jointly funded and administered by the state and federal government, is the state’s single largest expense, representing more than one-third of the state budget. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 14 Jan. 2022 Mario Quijada, another Crenshaw High teacher at the time, coached Arroyos through the Students Run L.A. program, which teaches kids to set goals through training for a marathon. Los Angeles Times, 14 Jan. 2022 Guests are welcome for the monthly program, which is preceded by a Show & Tell social hour at 6 p.m. Jessi Virtusio, chicagotribune.com, 14 Jan. 2022 Art x Platinum program—no other form of payment would be as festive. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 14 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If this device is a sensor or in unattended areas, program it to only operate when needed and not to leave open wifi or Bluetooth connections on at all times. Dick Wilkinson, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 More pressure to program Hollywood titles, rather than Korean, is already on the horizon. Patrick Frater, Variety, 13 Dec. 2021 Parents can program them to light up for a certain amount of time while their children hold them and fall asleep. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Dec. 2021 Also, bots can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars each—and then the reseller would have to program them, which is, according to the resellers WIRED spoke to, not an easy task. Saira Mueller, Wired, 16 Nov. 2021 Seminole in 2016 also started a bear trash can program that enabled neighborhoods and homeowner associations west of Interstate 4 to buy thousands of special cans with lock tops for homeowners at reduced costs. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, 14 Sep. 2021 Motion sensors or smart lights can also be used to program your day and save energy, as well as create the right mood for different needs. Rasha Hasaneen, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Alongside art films and edgy debut features, Colcoa is also willing to program broad comedies, family films, romances and historical epics, presenting an unusually comprehensive survey of the entirety of French cinema, from high-bow to low. Andrew Barker, Variety, 1 Nov. 2021 Kids can program Indi to drive around on any combination of 30 colorful silicone mats. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'program.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of program

Noun

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for program

Noun

French programme agenda, public notice, from Greek programma, from prographein to write before, from pro- before + graphein to write — more at carve

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best streaming devices.

Learn More About program

Time Traveler for program

Time Traveler

The first known use of program was in 1633

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near program

prograde

program

program clock

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for program

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Program.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/program. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for program

program

noun

English Language Learners Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a plan of things that are done in order to achieve a specific result
: a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do
: a thin book or a piece of paper that gives information about a concert, play, sports game, etc.

program

verb

English Language Learners Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (a computer) a set of instructions to perform a particular action : to create a program for (a computer)
: to give (a machine) a set of instructions to perform a particular action
: to make (a person or animal) behave or think in a particular way

program

noun
pro·​gram | \ ˈprō-ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -grəm \

Kids Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a brief statement or written outline (as of a concert, play, ceremony, or religious service)
2 : performance sense 2 a television program
3 : a plan of action … this little town had the most successful school lunch program in the state.— Andrew Clements, Frindle
4 : a set of step-by-step instructions that tell a computer to do something with data

program

verb
programmed\ ˈprō-​ˌgramd , -​grəmd \; programming

Kids Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give (a computer) a set of instructions : provide with a program

program

noun
pro·​gram
variants: or chiefly British programme \ ˈprō-​ˌgram How to pronounce program (audio) , -​grəm How to pronounce program (audio) \

Medical Definition of program

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the genes or sequences of DNA or RNA that are part of an organism or cell and encode or determine a process, trait, or behavior

program

transitive verb
variants: or chiefly British programme
programmed or programed; programming or programing

Medical Definition of program (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to code in an organism's program
2 : to provide with a biological program cells programmed to synthesize hemoglobin

More from Merriam-Webster on program

Nglish: Translation of program for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of program for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!