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Where does the word "Programming" come from?

I'm referring to the word "program" as referring to "to instruct a computer". Programming, programmer etc...

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closed as off topic by ChrisF Feb 8 '12 at 21:18

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1 Answer 1

up vote 19 down vote accepted

It started out as meaning something like "An ordered list of things to happen- a plan or a scheme." That fit with the things computer scientists were making- a list of commands, a plan of action, so they started calling the things they were making "programs."

Older etymology:

1630s, "public notice," from L.L. programma "proclamation, edict," from Gk. programma (gen. programmatos) "a written public notice," from stem of prographein "to write publicly," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). General sense of "a definite plan or scheme" is recorded from 1837. Meaning "list of pieces at a concert, playbill" first recorded 1805 and retains the original sense. That of "objects or events suggested by music" is from 1854. Sense of "broadcasting presentation" is from 1923. Computer sense (n.,v.) is from 1945. Spelling programme, sometimes preferred in Britain, is from French and began to be used early 19c. The verb in the figurative sense of "to train to behave in a predetermined way" is from 1963. Related: Programmed; programming.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=program

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This is a good counter-example to the claim that every question on this site is subjective. (That said, most are.) –  Tim Goodman Sep 7 '10 at 0:13
    
@Tim: Good point. –  Fishtoaster Sep 7 '10 at 1:14
    
Then again, the question could be argued to be off-topic if there is a StackExchange site about linguistics (or more specifically etymology)... –  Timwi Sep 7 '10 at 16:41
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@Timwi, I don't know... I don't think the fact that the question works well for one StackExchange site necessarily means it's off-topic for another. I think there can probably be some overlap. –  Tim Goodman Sep 7 '10 at 17:03
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@Timwi - there is a StackExchange site on English language and usage, where this would probably also be on-topic. –  Richard Gadsden Oct 5 '10 at 9:28

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