Electronic slang for old and young

December 08, 2016 // By Dennis Feucht
Dennis Feucht provides a dictionary of electronics slang from across the other side of the pond.

The electronics industry, as a subset of human society, has within it many of the same characteristics as the non-technical world. One of these is the loose use of language when it is convenient and when the speaker also desires to add to the cognitive content a splash of color to what is being said. What follows is a short list of electronics lingo and slang - perhaps the beginning of a glossary.

Computer hackers, especially those whose culture was emanating from the MIT Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab in the 1960s and ‘70s, already had an entire book devoted to computerese. The Hacker’s Dictionary (Harper & Row, 1983) was written (or compiled) by 6 people, including at least two that I recognize as from the MIT AI Lab: Guy Steele, who worked on the “frame problem” of robotics among other AI topics, and Richard Stallman, who is famous for leading the promotion of open software, and who is a - if not the - prodigious code writer of our time. The book is a refined version of the same glossary that floated around on the ARPAnet in the form of a large file in the 1970s.

If you have been in electronics a long time, see how much of this jargon or pseudo-words you recognize. And if you are new to electronics, hopefully the list will help you to better understand what the solicitors of slang are saying!

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