from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See program.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which is written or printed as a public notice or advertisement; a scheme; a prospectus; especially, a brief outline or explanation of the order to be pursued, or the subjects embraced, in any public exercise, performance, or entertainment; a preliminary sketch.
  • noun (Mus.) descriptive instrumental music which requires an argument or programme to explain the meaning of its several movements.

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

  • noun A planned sequence of events.
  • noun A sheet or booklet that lists a schedule of events.
  • noun A presentation that is broadcast on radio or television.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb write a computer program
  • noun an announcement of the events that will occur as part of a theatrical or sporting event
  • noun a performance (or series of performances) at a public presentation
  • noun (computer science) a sequence of instructions that a computer can interpret and execute
  • noun a radio or television show
  • noun a system of projects or services intended to meet a public need
  • noun an integrated course of academic studies
  • verb arrange a program of or for
  • noun a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin programma, from Ancient Greek meaning "a public written notice".


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  • Being neither British nor American I am glad to be in a position to opt for program as my preferred spelling.

    My recollection (from once delving into the several pages devoted to it in the 20-volume OED) is that the "programme" spelling is relatively new in Britain — one of those examples of a 19th-century adoption of a French-ified spelling in an attempt to appear more refined.

    The fake Italianate flautist is another such word. (And what is it that you do to floors?)

    April 1, 2008

  • Having just checked the OED (draft revisions: June 2007 for the verb form, March 2008 for the noun): it's more complicated, with some senses derived from post-classical Latin programma (influenced by German Programm), others from French programme.

    The bit you're thinking of is: ' The more common earlier (and predominantly Scottish) form program was retained by Scott, Carlyle, Hamilton, and others, even after the borrowing of senses directly from French in the late 18th cent. and early 19th cent.; it conforms to the usual English representation of Greek -γ�?αμμα, in e.g. ANAGRAM n., CRYPTOGRAM n., DIAGRAM n., TELEGRAM n., etc. The influence of French programme led to the predominance of this spelling in the 19th cent. The forms programme and program have since become established as the standard British and U.S. spellings respectively, with the exception that program is usual everywhere in senses relating to computing.'

    Programme in the sense of 'an advance notice describing any formal proceedings' is attested from 1699 ('Programme,..(Terme de College..) a Bill set up to give publick Notice of the Exercise to be performed in the School'); the earliest citation in any sense is from 1633 ('The beginning of his like a program affixed on the entrie of a citie').

    April 1, 2008