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(1)   (computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system
(2)   Major items of military weaponry (as tanks or missile)
(3)   Instrumentalities (tools or implements) made of metal


  1. Metal implements.
  2. Firearm.
  3. Electronic equipment.
  4. The part of a computer that is fixed and cannot be altered without replacement or physical modification; motherboard, expansion cards, etc. Compare software.
    • 1952: Hardware is the generally accepted colloquism for anything inside a computer other than an engineer. — Binary Arithmetic, R.L. Michaelson, in The Incorporated Statistician, vol. 3, no. 1 (Feb. 1952), pp 35-40.
  5. Fixtures, equipment, tools and devices used for general purpose construction and repair of a structure or object . Also such equipment as sold as stock by a store of the same name, e.g. hardware store.
    He needed a hammer, nails, screws, nuts, bolts and other assorted hardware, so he went to the hardware store.