hardware


noun

  1. metalware, as tools, locks, hinges, or cutlery.
  2. the mechanical equipment necessary for conducting an activity, usually distinguished from the theory and design that make the activity possible.
  3. military weapons and combat equipment.
  4. Slang. a weapon carried on one’s person: The rougher types were asked to check their hardware at the door.
  5. Computers. the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical devices comprising a computer system, as the CPU, disk drives, keyboard, or screen.

noun

  1. metal tools, implements, etc, esp cutlery or cooking utensils
  2. computing the physical equipment used in a computer system, such as the central processing unit, peripheral devices, and memoryCompare software
  3. mechanical equipment, components, etc
  4. heavy military equipment, such as tanks and missiles or their parts
  5. informal a gun or guns collectively
n.

mid-15c., “small metal goods,” from hard + ware (n.). In the sense of “physical components of a computer” it dates from 1947. Hardware store attested by 1789.

  1. A computer, its components, and its related equipment. Hardware includes disk drives, integrated circuits, display screens, cables, modems, speakers, and printers. Compare software.

The physical machinery and devices that make up a computer system. It is contrasted to software — the programs and instructions used to run the system.

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