ASSOCIATES (vol. 6, no. 1, July 1999) -

Online Dictionary of Computing Terms

Reviewed by

Michael D. Brooks
Francis A. Drexel Library
St. Joseph’s University

     Sometimes the best things are discovered by accident: like the vulcanization of rubber, which led to the development of automobile tires; or a good online dictionary of computer terms, which led to my helping my son make some corrections on a computer test.

      It all boils down to sticking tenaciously with a search until you find exactly what you are looking for (or something reasonably close). Perseverance is the key.

     Being an avid computer geek and having a voracious appetite for the Web, I have spent literally hours searching online glossaries and dictionaries looking for a site or source that explained things in a concise and easy-to-understand manner. In my searching, I stumbled upon TechEncyclopedia   (

     The site was just what the technician ordered. The site states that "more than 11,000 definitions of computer terms and concepts" are available for searching. Simply type in a word or series of words and click the define button. In a few short moments, you are rewarded with the word you wanted defined along with a rather simple definition. No convoluted words or terms that will have you running to another dictionary or clicking on other words within the definition to help you understand the definition of the word you are looking up. This is quite beneficial since you can sometimes forget just exactly what you were looking up in the first place if you have to constantly look up words that were supposed to help you understand the word you originally looked up.

     Whew! Anyway, once you get the definition, you will also get a brief explanation of the word in addition to the definition. Also, if you are lucky, a graphic may accompany the definition. The graphic is clickable for a full screen view.

     I looked up "CPU" and got a short definition, a brief explanation, and an illustration of a CPU (Central Processing Unit), which basically is the brain of a computer. Any related words are linked within the definition. Words alphabetically proceeding and following the one you look up are also made available in a table below the definition. These words are links, as are the words that appear in a list of "partial matches."

     If you are simply curious about various definitions and do not have any particular word or term in mind, a random definition search is available. Simply click on the random definition link and you will end up wherever the random search takes you. This kind of searching is not recommended unless you have plenty of time on your hands and are just plain curious about all of the various computer terms that are available. If you type in a word or term that is not in the TechEncyclopedia database, a message will appear telling you the word is not in the database.

     When you come across a computer-related term not in the database, just click on the "Let us know" link. You are given the opportunity to send the site managers an e-mail message requesting they consider adding the word you searched to their database. They will only consider computer-related terms, however.

     Overall, TechEncyclopedia is a very useful site for looking up computer terms and getting quick and simple definitions. This site is a definite must for those who need to know the difference between their RAM and their ROM.

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