computer (n.)

1640s, "one who calculates, a reckoner, one whose occupation is to make arithmetical calculations," agent noun from compute (v.).

Meaning "calculating machine" (of any type) is from 1897; in modern use, "programmable digital electronic device for performing mathematical or logical operations," 1945 under this name (the thing itself was described by 1937 in a theoretical sense as Turing machine). ENIAC (1946) usually is considered the first.

Computer literacy is recorded from 1970; an attempt to establish computerate (adjective, on model of literate) in this sense in the early 1980s didn't catch on. Computerese "the jargon of programmers" is from 1960, as are computerize and computerization.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A New York Congressman says the use of computers to record personal data on individuals, such as their credit background, "is just frightening to me." [news article, March 17, 1968]

Earlier words for "one who calculates" include computator (c. 1600), from Latin computator; computist (late 14c.) "one skilled in calendrical or chronological reckoning."

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science (n.)
Origin and meaning of science

mid-14c., "what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;" also "assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty," from Old French science "knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge" (12c.), from Latin scientia "knowledge, a knowing; expertness," from sciens (genitive scientis) "intelligent, skilled," present participle of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide" (from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split;" source also of Greek skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Gothic skaidan, Old English sceadan "to divide, separate").

From late 14c. in English as "book-learning," also "a particular branch of knowledge or of learning;" also "skillfulness, cleverness; craftiness." From c. 1400 as "experiential knowledge;" also "a skill, handicraft; a trade." From late 14c. as "collective human knowledge" (especially that gained by systematic observation, experiment, and reasoning). Modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or propositions concerning a particular subject or speculation" is attested from 1725; in 17c.-18c. this concept commonly was called philosophy. Sense of "non-arts studies" is attested from 1670s. 

Science, since people must do it, is a socially embedded activity. It progresses by hunch, vision, and intuition. Much of its change through time does not record a closer approach to absolute truth, but the alteration of cultural contexts that influence it so strongly. Facts are not pure and unsullied bits of information; culture also influences what we see and how we see it. Theories, moreover, are not inexorable inductions from facts. The most creative theories are often imaginative visions imposed upon facts; the source of imagination is also strongly cultural. [Stephen Jay Gould, introduction to "The Mismeasure of Man," 1981]
In science you must not talk before you know. In art you must not talk before you do. In literature you must not talk before you think. [John Ruskin, "The Eagle's Nest," 1872]

The distinction is commonly understood as between theoretical truth (Greek epistemē) and methods for effecting practical results (tekhnē), but science sometimes is used for practical applications and art for applications of skill. To blind (someone) with science "confuse by the use of big words or complex explanations" is attested from 1937, originally noted as a phrase from Australia and New Zealand.

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pseudo-science (n.)

also pseudoscience, "a pretended or mistaken science," 1796 (the earliest reference is to alchemy), from pseudo- + science.

The term pseudo-science is hybrid, and therefore objectionable. Pseudognosy would be better etymology, but the unlearned might be apt to association with it the idea of a dog's nose, and thus, instead of taking "the eel of science by the tail," take the cur of science by the snout; so that all things considered we had better adopt the current term pseudo-sciences ["The Pseudo-Sciences," in The St. James's Magazine, January 1842]
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cyberspace (n.)

"the online world of computer networks and especially the Internet, the environment in which communication over computer networks occurs," 1982, often written as two words at first, coined by science fiction writer William Gibson (best known for "Neuromancer") and used by him in a short story published in 1982, from cyber- + space (n.).

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reboot (v.)

"shut down and restart" (a computer or computer program), 1981, from re- "again" + boot (v.2) in the computer sense. Related: Rebooted; rebooting.

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microcomputer (n.)

"small computer built around a single microprocessor," 1971, from micro- + computer. An name for what later generally would be called a personal or home computer.

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toolbar (n.)

1960 as a frame fitted to a tractor to hold tools; from tool (n.) + bar (n.1). Computer sense is attested from 1991.

Among 100-odd new features in Excel 3.0 is a row of "buttons" on the screen called the Toolbar. Located under the pull-down menus, the Toolbar provides rapid access to frequently used commands. [Popular Science, April 1991.]
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computer language, 1964, initialism (acronym) for Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code; invented by Hungarian-born U.S. computer scientist John G. Kemeny and U.S. computer scientist Thomas E. Kurtz.

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boot (v.2)
1975, transitive, "start up (a computer) by causing an operating system to load in the memory," 1975, from bootstrap (v.), a 1958 derived verb from bootstrap (n.) in the computer sense "fixed sequence of instructions to load the operating system of a computer" (1953). This is from the notion of the first-loaded program pulling itself (and the rest) up by the bootstrap, an old expression for "better oneself by rigorous, unaided effort." Intransitive, of a computer operating system, from 1983. Related: Booted; booting.
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