from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes.
  • noun The engaging in more than one activity at the same time or serially, switching one's attention back and forth from one activity to another.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of multitask.
  • noun computing The simultaneous execution of multiple tasks (programs) under the control of an interrupt-driven operating system.
  • noun buzzword, figuratively The practice or capability of handling more than one task at the same time.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • "But more recently, challenges to the ethos of multitasking have begun to emerge. Numerous studies have shown the sometimes-fatal danger of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, for example, and several states have now made that particular form of multitasking illegal. In the business world, where concerns about time-management are perennial, warnings about workplace distractions spawned by a multitasking culture are on the rise. In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, 'Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.'�?

    - Christine Rosen, The Myth of Multitasking, The New Atlantis, Spring 2008.

    March 23, 2009