Etymology
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hardware (n.)

mid-15c., "small metal goods," from hard (adj.) + ware (n.). In the sense of "physical components of a computer" it dates from 1947. Hardware store attested by 1789.

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Definitions of hardware

hardware (n.)
major items of military weaponry (as tanks or missile);
hardware (n.)
instrumentalities (tools or implements) made of metal;
Synonyms: ironware
hardware (n.)
(computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system;
Synonyms: computer hardware
From wordnet.princeton.edu