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3 definitions found
 for thunk
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  thunk
      n 1: a dull hollow sound; "the basketball made a thunk as it hit
           the rim"

From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  thunk
   /thuhnk/, n.
  
      1. [obs.]?A piece of coding which provides an address:?, according to P. Z.
      Ingerman, who invented thunks in 1961 as a way of binding actual parameters
      to their formal definitions in Algol-60 procedure calls. If a procedure is
      called with an expression in the place of a formal parameter, the compiler
      generates a thunk which computes the expression and leaves the address of
      the result in some standard location.
  
      2. Later generalized into: an expression, frozen together with its
      environment, for later evaluation if and when needed (similar to what in
      techspeak is called a closure). The process of unfreezing these thunks is
      called forcing.
  
      3. A stubroutine, in an overlay programming environment, that loads and
      jumps to the correct overlay. Compare trampoline.
  
      4. Microsoft and IBM have both defined, in their Intel-based systems, a ?
      16-bit environment? (with bletcherous segment registers and 64K address
      limits) and a ?32-bit environment? (with flat addressing and semi-real
      memory management). The two environments can both be running on the same
      computer and OS (thanks to what is called, in the Microsoft world, WOW
      which stands for Windows On Windows). MS and IBM have both decided that the
      process of getting from 16- to 32-bit and vice versa is called a ?thunk?;
      for Windows 95, there is even a tool THUNK.EXE called a ?thunk compiler?.
  
      5. A person or activity scheduled in a thunklike manner. ?It occurred to me
      the other day that I am rather accurately modeled by a thunk ? I frequently
      need to be forced to completion.:? ? paraphrased from a plan file.
  
      Historical note: There are a couple of onomatopoeic myths circulating about
      the origin of this term. The most common is that it is the sound made by
      data hitting the stack; another holds that the sound is that of the data
      hitting an accumulator. Yet another suggests that it is the sound of the
      expression being unfrozen at argument-evaluation time. In fact, according
      to the inventors, it was coined after they realized (in the wee hours after
      hours of discussion) that the type of an argument in Algol-60 could be
      figured out in advance with a little compile-time thought, simplifying the
      evaluation machinery. In other words, it had ?already been thought of?;
      thus it was christened a thunk, which is ?the past tense of ?think? at two
      in the morning?.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  thunk
  
      /thuhnk/ 1. "A piece of coding which provides an
     address", according to P. Z. Ingerman, who invented thunks in
     1961 as a way of binding actual parameters to their formal
     definitions in ALGOL 60 procedure calls.  If a procedure
     is called with an expression in the place of a formal
     parameter, the compiler generates a thunk which computes the
     expression and leaves the address of the result in some
     standard location.
  
     2. The term was later generalised to mean an expression,
     frozen together with its environment (variable values), for
     later evaluation if and when needed (similar to a
     "{closure").  The process of unfreezing these thunks is
     called "forcing".
  
     3. A stubroutine, in an overlay programming environment,
     that loads and jumps to the correct overlay.
  
     Compare trampoline.
  
     There are a couple of onomatopoeic myths circulating about the
     origin of this term.  The most common is that it is the sound
     made by data hitting the stack; another holds that the sound
     is that of the data hitting an accumulator.  Yet another
     suggests that it is the sound of the expression being unfrozen
     at argument-evaluation time.  In fact, according to the
     inventors, it was coined after they realised (in the wee hours
     after hours of discussion) that the type of an argument in
     ALGOL 60 could be figured out in advance with a little
     compile-time thought, simplifying the evaluation machinery.
     In other words, it had "already been thought of"; thus it was
     christened a "thunk", which is "the past tense of "think" at
     two in the morning".
  
     4. ({Microsoft Windows programming) universal thunk,
     generic thunk, flat thunk.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1997-10-11)
  

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