The DICT Development Group
2 definitions found
From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :
65 Moby Thesaurus words for "bugs":
ape about, balmy, bananas, barmy, bats, batty, beany, bedlamite,
bonkers, buggy, bughouse, bugs on, cracked, cracked on, crackers,
crazed, crazy, crazy about, cuckoo, daffy, daft, demented, dippy,
dotty, flaky, flipped, freaked-out, fruitcakey, fruity, gaga,
gaga over, gone on, goofy, gung ho, haywire, hepped up over,
hipped on, hot about, insane, just plain nuts, keen, kooky, loony,
loopy, mad about, nuts, nuts about, nuts on, nutty, off the hinges,
off the track, off the wall, potty, round the bend, screwball,
screwballs, screwy, slaphappy, starry-eyed over, steamed up about,
turned-on, wacky, warm, wild about, zealous
From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :
An unwanted and unintended property of a
program or piece of hardware, especially one that causes
it to malfunction. Antonym of feature. E.g. "There's a bug
in the editor: it writes things out backward." The
identification and removal of bugs in a program is called
Admiral Grace Hopper (an early computing pioneer better
known for inventing COBOL) liked to tell a story in which a
technician solved a glitch in the Harvard Mark II machine
by pulling an actual insect out from between the contacts of
one of its relays, and she subsequently promulgated bug in
its hackish sense as a joke about the incident (though, as she
was careful to admit, she was not there when it happened).
For many years the logbook associated with the incident and
the actual bug in question (a moth) sat in a display case at
the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC). The entire story,
with a picture of the logbook and the moth taped into it, is
recorded in the "Annals of the History of Computing", Vol. 3,
No. 3 (July 1981), pp. 285--286.
The text of the log entry (from September 9, 1947), reads
"1545 Relay #70 Panel F (moth) in relay. First actual case of
bug being found". This wording establishes that the term was
already in use at the time in its current specific sense - and
Hopper herself reports that the term "bug" was regularly
applied to problems in radar electronics during WWII.
Indeed, the use of "bug" to mean an industrial defect was
already established in Thomas Edison's time, and a more
specific and rather modern use can be found in an electrical
handbook from 1896 ("Hawkin's New Catechism of Electricity",
Theo. Audel & Co.) which says: "The term "bug" is used to a
limited extent to designate any fault or trouble in the
connections or working of electric apparatus." It further
notes that the term is "said to have originated in
quadruplex telegraphy and have been transferred to all
The latter observation may explain a common folk etymology of
the term; that it came from telephone company usage, in which
"bugs in a telephone cable" were blamed for noisy lines.
Though this derivation seems to be mistaken, it may well be a
distorted memory of a joke first current among *telegraph*
operators more than a century ago!
Actually, use of "bug" in the general sense of a disruptive
event goes back to Shakespeare! In the first edition of
Samuel Johnson's dictionary one meaning of "bug" is "A
frightful object; a walking spectre"; this is traced to
"bugbear", a Welsh term for a variety of mythological monster
which (to complete the circle) has recently been reintroduced
into the popular lexicon through fantasy role-playing games.
In any case, in jargon the word almost never refers to
insects. Here is a plausible conversation that never actually
"There is a bug in this ant farm!"
"What do you mean? I don't see any ants in it."
"That's the bug."
[There has been a widespread myth that the original bug was
moved to the Smithsonian, and an earlier version of this entry
so asserted. A correspondent who thought to check discovered
that the bug was not there. While investigating this in late
1990, your editor discovered that the NSWC still had the bug,
but had unsuccessfully tried to get the Smithsonian to accept
it - and that the present curator of their History of
American Technology Museum didn't know this and agreed that it
would make a worthwhile exhibit. It was moved to the
Smithsonian in mid-1991, but due to space and money
constraints has not yet been exhibited. Thus, the process of
investigating the original-computer-bug bug fixed it in an
entirely unexpected way, by making the myth true! - ESR]
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