from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Computer Science The programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Encoded computer instructions, usually modifiable (unless stored in some form of unalterable memory such as ROM). Compare hardware.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- 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
From soft + -ware, by contrast with hardware ("the computer itself"). Coined 1953 by Paul Niquette; first used in print by John Tukey 1958. (Wiktionary)