Questions tagged [etymology]

Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.

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What does "alloca" stand for?

The alloca() function allocates memory in the stack frame of the caller. What did alloca originally stand for? Are there any sources regarding the etymology of the name?
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Why are "fields" are called that?

Those textboxes, datepickers, textareas, etc... or DB fields. Does anyone know the etymology of it? Why those are "fields"? Is it because a field is an open space area that has no trees ...
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Why the names Omega and Theta in Big Omega and Big Theta?

There was a question asking what the "O" stands for in "Big O", the answer to which seems to be "Ordnung von"/"order of". I wonder what's the origin of the ...
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Why is it called a "trap" instruction?

To execute a system call, a program must execute a special trap instruction. Why is it called a "trap" instruction? What is the etymology of this usage of the word "trap"? Is it ...
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Software bug vs. software corruption

While investigating Wikipedia article on Qantas Flight 72 I've found "Potential trigger types" section that says (emphasis mine): A number of potential trigger types were investigated, ...
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Can every language be categorized as either compiled or interpreted? [duplicate]

As per Wikipedia: A compiled language is a programming language whose implementations are typically compilers (translators that generate machine code from source code). And an interpreted language is ...
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Why is it called "game day"? [closed]

At several companies the term "game day" is used to mean testing functionality of a product in a production (or similar) environment. Specifically, testing a that an intended mechanism works as ...
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3 answers
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Etymology of "static" functions

I get why static local variables are called "static" -- we want them to be allocated in static memory! But what is the reason for calling functions and variables we want restricted to the current file ...
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Why the name MailboxProcessor in F#?

It seems that the standard practice is to immediately alias MailboxProcessor<'T> to Agent<'T>. So why the name in the first place anyways? Why don't they just call it Agent<'T>, if ...
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Etymology of (function) overloading

Where does the phrase "overload" come from? It's interesting to see the translation of the term in different languages (e.g. list of Wikipedia articles about overloading), some languages translate it ...
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What does the "t" in int32_t signify?

In C, what meaning, if any does the t at the end of integer types like uint8_t and int32_t have? Where did it originate? Why wasn't the type just called int32?
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What is the etymology of the "dot" operator for string concatenation?

Some languages have a . operator for string concatenation. The oldest language I could find that supports it is Perl. Was Perl the first to use it? Why was it chosen?
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What is the origin of the phrase "extirpated as a potential munition"

I recently came across this statement in the Perl documentation: extirpated as a potential munition derived from the sentence: "Creates a digest string exactly like the crypt(3) function in the C ...
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Etymology of 'virtual' (method/method table/inheritance)

As far as I know, it generally refers to late or dynamic bindng. So why a word like late or dynamic wasn't used?
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1 answer
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Where did the T in wchar_t come from?

In many native types, a common suffix (and sometimes prefix) of t or _t is used to denote platform-independent types (such as wchar_t, int32_t, etc.) What was the logic behind the letter t as opposed ...
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5 answers
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Why is the output of a compiler called object code?

From the essay Programming Languages Explained by Paul Graham, published in Hackers & Painters: The high-level language that you feed the compiler is also known as source code, and the ...
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4 answers
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In pair programming, what is each role named, and why?

I've heard the person at the keyboard named the "driver", and the other person named the "navigator". I've imagined rally car racers, where the person at the wheel just cannot keep up with everything ...
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Why is XML not called EML?

From Wikipedia Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification[4] produced by the W3C, and several ...
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What does "proxy to" mean?

I keep coming across the word "proxy" used as a verb in tutorials, etc. Usually something will "proxy to" something else. What does this mean? Having spent some time googling for what it means in a ...
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3 answers
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Use of the word "glitch"

I find myself talking about computers with a lot of non-tech people, who often use the word "glitch" to describe an undesirable outcome of a program or operating system(of course, never Linux!). I ...
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What am I supposed to take away from the term Routed Events?

I use events all the time, I cheat and use autocomplete in Visual Studio. Object.closing += [tab] button. Put something in the autogenerated function. Some people like to emphasize the "routed" ...
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37 votes
6 answers
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Why do we call it "production"?

A coworker was wondering this today: "Why is it that in our industry 'production' means 'final, deliverable product'? You know, like if a movie is 'in production', it means they're currently filming ...
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62 votes
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Etymology of "String"

So it's obvious that a string of things is a sequence of things, and so a sequence of characters/bytes/etc. might as well be called a string. But who first called them strings? And when? And in what ...
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What is language-agnosticism and why is it called that?

When is something language agnostic? Why is it called that?
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