The Jargon File

A Chronology...The Jargon FileComputer Dictionary
[from MIT jargon] v. 1. To fail. A program loses when it encounters an exceptional condition.
2. To be exceptionally unaesthetic.
3. Of people, to be obnoxious or unusually stupid (as opposed to ignorant).
4. DESERVE TO LOSE: v. Said of someone who willfully does the wrong thing; humorously, if one uses a feature known to be marginal. What is meant is that one deserves the consequences of one's losing actions. "Boy, anyone who tries to use MULTICS deserves to lose!" LOSE LOSE - a reply or comment on a situation.
n. An unexpectedly bad situation, program, programmer, or person. Especially "real loser".
n. Something which loses. WHAT A (MOBY) LOSS!: interjection.
n. The result of a bug or malfunction.
(lip'it) n. Line printer, of course.
n. An industry standard reel of tape, as opposed to a MICROTAPE.
adj.1. As yet unexplained, or too complicated to explain. (Arthur C. Clarke once said that magic was as-yet-not-understood science.) "TTY echoing is controlled by a large number of magic bits." "This routine magically computes the parity of an eight-bit byte in three instructions."
2. (Stanford) A feature not generally publicized which allows something otherwise impossible, or a feature formerly in that category but now unveiled. Example: The keyboard commands which override the screen-hiding features.
adj.1. Extremely small. "A marginal increase in core can decrease GC time drastically." See EPSILON.
2. Of extremely small merit. "This proposed new feature seems rather marginal to me."
3.Of extremely small probability of winning. "The power supply was rather marginal anyway; no wonder it crapped out."
4. MARGINALLY: adv. Slightly. "The ravs here are only marginally better than at Small Eating Place."
n. Occasionally used to mean a DECtape, as opposed to a MACROTAPE. This was the official DEC term for the stuff until someone consed up the word "DECtape".
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