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English Dictionary: BUG by the DICT Development Group
4 results for BUG
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
bug
n
  1. general term for any insect or similar creeping or crawling invertebrate
  2. a fault or defect in a computer program, system, or machine
    Synonym(s): bug, glitch
  3. a small hidden microphone; for listening secretly
  4. insects with sucking mouthparts and forewings thickened and leathery at the base; usually show incomplete metamorphosis
    Synonym(s): hemipterous insect, bug, hemipteran, hemipteron
  5. a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium); the term is not in technical use
    Synonym(s): microbe, bug, germ
v
  1. annoy persistently; "The children teased the boy because of his stammer"
    Synonym(s): tease, badger, pester, bug, beleaguer
  2. tap a telephone or telegraph wire to get information; "The FBI was tapping the phone line of the suspected spy"; "Is this hotel room bugged?"
    Synonym(s): wiretap, tap, intercept, bug
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Bug \Bug\, n. [OE. bugge, fr. W. bwg, bwgan, hobgoblin,
      scarecrow, bugbear. Cf. {Bogey}, {Boggle}.]
      1. A bugbear; anything which terrifies. [Obs.]
  
                     Sir, spare your threats: The bug which you would
                     fright me with I seek.                        --Shak.
  
      2. (Zo[94]l.) A general name applied to various insects
            belonging to the Hemiptera; as, the squash bug; the chinch
            bug, etc.
  
      3. (Zo[94]l.) An insect of the genus {Cimex}, especially the
            bedbug ({C. lectularius}). See {Bedbug}.
  
      4. (Zo[94]l.) One of various species of Coleoptera; as, the
            ladybug; potato bug, etc.; loosely, any beetle.
  
      5. (Zo[94]l.) One of certain kinds of Crustacea; as, the sow
            bug; pill bug; bait bug; salve bug, etc.
  
      Note: According to present popular usage in England, and
               among housekeepers in America, bug, when not joined
               with some qualifying word, is used specifically for
               bedbug. As a general term it is used very loosely in
               America, and was formerly used still more loosely in
               England. [bd]God's rare workmanship in the ant, the
               poorest bug that creeps.[b8] --Rogers (--Naaman).
               [bd]This bug with gilded wings.[b8] --Pope.
  
      {Bait bug}. See under {Bait}.
  
      {Bug word}, swaggering or threatening language. [Obs.]
            --Beau. & Fl.

From Jargon File (4.2.0, 31 JAN 2000) [jargon]:
   bug n.   An unwanted and unintended property of a program or
   piece of hardware, esp. one that causes it to malfunction.   Antonym
   of {feature}.   Examples: "There's a bug in the editor: it writes
   things out backwards."   "The system crashed because of a hardware
   bug."   "Fred is a winner, but he has a few bugs" (i.e., Fred is a
   good guy, but he has a few personality problems).
  
      Historical note: 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
   electric apparatus."
  
      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!
  
      Or perhaps not a joke.   Historians of the field inform us that the
   term "bug" was regularly used in the early days of telegraphy to
   refer to a variety of semi-automatic telegraphy keyers that would
   send a string of dots if you held them down.   In fact, the Vibroplex
   keyers (which were among the most common of this type) even had a
   graphic of a beetle on them (and still do)!   While the ability to
   send repeated dots automatically was very useful for professional
   morse code operators, these were also significantly trickier to use
   than the older manual keyers, and it could take some practice to
   ensure one didn't introduce extraneous dots into the code by holding
   the key down a fraction too long.   In the hands of an inexperienced
   operator, a Vibroplex "bug" on the line could mean that a lot of
   garbled Morse would soon be coming your way.
  
      Further, the term "bug" has long been used among radio technicians to
      describe a device that converts electromagnetic field variations into
      acoustic signals.   It is used to trace radio interference and look
   for dangerous radio emissions.   Radio community usage derives from
   the roach-like shape of the first versions used by 19th century
   physicists.   The first versions consisted of a coil of wire (roach
   body), with the two wire ends sticking out and bent back to nearly
   touch forming a spark gap (roach antennae).   The bug is to the radio
   technician what the stethoscope is to the stereotype medical doctor.
   This sense is almost certainly ancestral to modern use of "bug" for
   a covert monitoring device, but may also have contributed to the use
   of "bug" for the effects of radio interference itself.
  
      Actually, use of `bug' in the general sense of a disruptive event
   goes back to Shakespeare!   (Henry VI, part III - Act V, Scene II:
   King Edward: "So, lie thou there. Die thou; and die our fear; For
   Warwick was a bug that fear'd us all.")   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 happened:
  
      "There is a bug in this ant farm!"
  
      "What do you mean?   I don't see any ants in it."
  
      "That's the bug."
  
      A careful discussion of the etymological issues can be found in a
   paper by Fred R. Shapiro, 1987, "Entomology of the Computer Bug:
   History and Folklore", American Speech 62(4):376-378.
  
      [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 was not actually exhibited years afterwards.
   Thus, the process of investigating the original-computer-bug bug
   fixed it in an entirely unexpected way, by making the myth true!
   --ESR]
  
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (15Feb98) [foldoc]:
   bug
  
      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
      "{debugging}".
  
      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
      electric apparatus."
  
      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
      happened:
  
      "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]
  
      [{Jargon File}]
  
      (1999-06-29)
  
  
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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