Let's Compare Hardware and Software


Hardware stores (in a number of countries, "shops"), sometimes known as home improvement stores or DIY stores, sell household hardware for home improvement including: fasteners, hand tools, power tools, keys, locks, hinges, chains, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, cleaning products, housewares, tools, utensils, paint, and lawn and garden products directly to consumers for use at home or for business.

hardware n 1: major items of military weaponry (as tanks or missile) 2: instrumentalities (tools or implements) made of metal [syn: {ironware}] 3: (computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system [syn: {computer hardware}] [ant: {software}]

46 Moby Thesaurus words for "hardware": appliances, armaments, arms, brassware, chinaware, clayware, components, computer, computer hardware, computer unit, copperware, devices, dinnerware, durable goods, durables, earthenware, electronic brain, electronic computer, enamelware, fixtures, flatware, glassware, graniteware, hard goods, hollow ware, housefurnishings, housewares, information machine, ironmongery, ironware, kitchenware, machinery, materiel, metalware, munitions, ovenware, silverware, sporting goods, stoneware, tableware, thinking machine, tinware, tools, tools and machinery, white goods, woodenware

Hardware \Hard"ware`\ (h[aum]rd"w[^a]r`), n. 1. Ware made of metal, as cutlery, kitchen utensils, and the like; ironmongery. [1913 Webster] 2. Any of the physical objects used in carrying out an activity, in contrast to the knowledge, skill, or theory required to perform the activity; mostly used collectively. [PJC] 3. Specifically: (Computers) The sum of all the physical objects, such as the electrical, mechanical, and electronic devices which comprise a computer system; as, the typical PC hardware suite consists of a mainboard and a number of peripherals such as hard drives and speakers, connected by adapter cards, but the input and output from users occurs mostly through the keyboard and monitor; contrasted with {software}, the programs executed by the computer. [PJC] 4. Specifically: (Military) The weapons, transport, and other physical objects used in conducting a war. [PJC] 5. (Slang) Weapons, especially handguns, carried on the person; as, check your hardware at the door before entering. [PJC]

hardware The physical, touchable, material parts of a computer or other system. The term is used to distinguish these fixed parts of a system from the more changable {software} or {data} components which it executes, stores, or carries. Computer hardware typically consists chiefly of electronic devices ({CPU}, {memory}, {display}) with some electromechanical parts (keyboard, {printer}, {disk drives}, {tape drives}, loudspeakers) for input, output, and storage, though completely non-electronic (mechanical, electromechanical, hydraulic, biological) computers have also been conceived of and built. See also {firmware}, {wetware}. (1997-01-23)


Computer software, or just software, is a collection of computer programs and related data that provides the instructions for telling a computer what to do and how to do it.

software n : (computer science) written programs or procedures or rules and associated documentation pertaining to the operation of a computer system and that are stored in read/write memory; "the market for software is expected to expand" [syn: {software system}, {software package}, {package}] [ant: {hardware}]

software (Or "computer program", "program", "code") The instructions executed by a computer, as opposed to the physical device on which they run (the "{hardware}"). The term was coined by the eminent statistician, {John Tukey}. Programs stored on {non-volatile storage} built from {integrated circuits} (e.g. {ROM} or {PROM}) are usually called {firmware}. Software can be split into two main types - {system software} and application software or {application programs}. System software is any software required to support the production or execution of application programs but which is not specific to any particular application. Examples of system software would include the {operating system}, {compilers}, editors and sorting programs. Examples of application programs would include an accounts package or a {CAD} program. Other broad classes of application software include {real-time} software, {business software}, scientific and engineering software, {embedded software}, personal computer software and {artificial intelligence} software. Software includes both {source code} written by humans and executable {machine code} produced by {assemblers} or {compilers}. It does not usually include the data processed by programs unless this is in a format such as {multimedia} which depends on the use of computers for its presentation. This distinction becomes unclear in cases such as {spread sheets} which can contain both instructions (formulae and {macros}) and data. There are also various intermediate compiled or {semi-compiled}, forms of software such as {library} files and {byte-code}. Some claim that {documentation} (both paper and electronic) is also software. Others go further and define software to be programs plus documentation though this does not correspond with common usage. The noun "program" describes a single, complete and more-or-less self-contained list of instructions, often stored in a single {file}, whereas "code" and "software" are uncountable nouns describing some number of instructions which may constitute one or more programs or part thereof. Most programs, however, rely heavily on various kinds of {operating system} software for their execution. The nounds "code" and "software" both refer to the same thing but "code" tends to suggest an interest in the implementation details whereas "software" is more of a user's term. (2002-07-21)

Data Sources:

  • hardware: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • hardware: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • hardware: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • hardware: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (27 SEP 03)
  • software: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • software: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (27 SEP 03)

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