Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement

Jargon Buster‌

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 


  • Adobe Acrobat Reader Standard software for viewing, reading and annotating PDF files.

    Analogue A signal whose value varies continuously, as opposed to a digital signal which is either on or off.

  • AndroidAn operating system for portable computers and mobile phones, based on the Linux system that is used on some PCs.

  • Animated GIF A type of simple animation found on the internet.

  • App A small program designed to run on a phone or handheld computer. Could be a game, utility or any other type of program. (Short for application.)

  • Applet A small program, often one that runs within a larger program to perform a specific task.

    Avatar A virtual representation of yourself in an online environment e.g. personalised graphic.


    Back to top


  • BandwidthA range within a band of frequencies or wavelengths.

    BluetoothA wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances, using short-wavelength radio transmissions, from fixed and mobile devices.

    BrowserA program used to view and interact with websites. (Short for web browser.)


    Back to top


  • CacheA temporary space for storing information. Can be memory used on a computer processor, or space on a hard disk used by a web browser.

  • Capture deviceA peripheral used to capture analogue audio and/or video and convert it into a digital audio/video file on your computer.

  • Chat roomA place for people to chat online, either via a website or using special software.

    ChromeA free web browser by Google.

    CMYKA colour system that is based on the four colours used in traditional offset printing. (Short for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black=key).

  • CookieA small text file stored on your computer by a website. Used to store browsing preferences, website log-in details and so on.

    CSSA style sheet language used for describing the the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language. Its most common application is to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML, but the language can also be applied to any kind of XML document, including plain XML, SVG and XUL. (Short for Cascading Style Sheet.)


    Back to top


  • Dialogue boxA window that pops up to display or request information.

    DownloadCopy (data) from one computer system to another or to a disk.


    Back to top


  • EbookA book stored as a digital file that can be read on a computer or dedicated ebook reader.


    Back to top


  • FAQsA list of questions and answers relating to a particular subject, especially one giving basic information about a Web site.

    FirefoxA free web browser by Mozilla.

    FirewallA piece of software or hardware that prevents unauthorised access to a computer over a network, such as the internet.

  • FlashAn application used to display animations and video files on websites.
  • ForumA website where users can ask questions and receive replies from other users.

    FTPFile Transfer Protocol, a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host or to another host over a TCP-based network, such as the Internet.


    Back to to


  • GIFA bitmap image format supported by the World Wide Web. (Short for Graphics Interchange Format.)

    GUIA human-computer interface that uses windows, icons and menus to allow humans to interact with computers. (Short for Graphical User Interface.)


    Back to top


  • HTMLHypertext Markup Language. The language used to write most web pages.

  • HTML5The latest version of the Hypertext Markup Language used to create most web pages. HTML5 includes extra commands that allow for more complex designs.


    Back to top


  • InternetA vast computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide which use the same set of communications protocols.

  • IntranetA computer network with restricted access, as within a company, that uses software and protocols developed for the internet.

    iPadA tablet computer designed and developed by Apple.


    Back to top


  • JavaA programming language used to create some software and internet tools.

  • JavascriptA simplified version of the Java programming language used on many websites.

  • JPEGA common type of image file created by most digital cameras. Some image quality is lost with each save. (Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group.)


    Back to top


  • KnowledgebaseAn online database of helpful information, often run by a software manufacturer to provide help and support.


    Back to top


  • LinuxAn open-source computer system available for many hardware platforms.


    Back to top


  • MegabyteA unit of information equal to 220 bytes or, loosely, one million bytes.

    Memory (RAM)Computer memory, also known as RAM (Random Access Memory), is where most information is stored while programs are running.

    MetadataA set of data that gives information about a file.

    MPEGA common type of audio or video file. (Short for Motion Picture Experts Group.)

  • MultimediaRefers to material in a mix of formats, such as sound and video.


    Back to top


  • NetworkA way of connecting several computers and devices so they can share information.

    NotebookA portable computer that is smaller than a laptop.


    Back to top


  • Open sourceSoftware that is developed, released to and used by the public, free, as an alternative to software from large companies.

    Operating systemSoftware that supports a computer's basic functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals.


    Back to top


  • PDFA file format that makes it possible to display text and graphics in the same fixed layout on any computer screen.

  • Plug-inA small program that adds extra features to your web browser or to other applications, and is loaded only when it's needed.
  • PNGA format for images that shrinks file sizes using compression but without discarding any data. (Sort for Portable Network Graphics.)

    PodcastA multimedia digital file made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player.

  • Pop-upA window that is displayed by a website, usually over material already on the screen.

    PreziA web-based presentation application that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides.

    Proxy serverA server (a computer system or an application) that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers.


    Back to top



  • Radio buttonA type of button where only one choice can be made at any time.

  • RepositoryA central location where software is stored.

    RGBA colour model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colours. RGB output devices include computer screens and mobile devices.

  • RSSA simple format for automatically distributing news headlines and other content from the web. (Short for Really Simple Syndication.)


    Back to top


  • Screen readerA software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen, including text and descriptions of images, menu bars and the content of websites. Windows 7 and Vista come with screen-reading software.

  • ServerA computer on a network, such as the internet, that distributes information to other PCs.

  • Smart phoneA mobile phone built on a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability connectivity than a feature phone.

  • Social networkingWebsites that enable you to chat, share news and photos with friends. Facebook is an example of a social network.

  • SoftwareAny program or group of programs that tells hardware how it should perform, including operating systems such as Windows, word processors, DTP applications and games.

  • StreamAudio or video material that can be played as it is downloaded from the internet or transferred from another computer. Broadcasts over the internet are often streamed so that you don't have to download a whole file before you start listening or watching. Streaming media sometimes stalls if the source material is received more slowly than it is played back.


    Back to top


  • TabletA general-purpose computer contained in a single panel. Its distinguishing characteristic is the use of a touch screen.

    TagA keyword used to describe a file or web page. Many programs use tags to organise related information quickly.

    TIFFIndustry-standard method for storing scanned and other digital black-and-white, grayscale, and full-colour images. (Short for Tagged Image File Format.)


    Back to top


  • UploadTo transfer (data or programs), usually from a peripheral computer or device to a central, often remote computer.

    USBA standard that allows quick and easy connection of external peripherals such as storage devices to your PC. Devices can be added or removed while your PC is switched on. (Short for Universal Serial Bus.)

  • User interfaceThis is the face of a computer program - what it looks like to the person sitting in front of the monitor, and how it is used.


    Back to top


  • VideoconferencingLinks two or more PCs to capture and display video and audio in real time so distant people can see as well as talk to each other.


    Back to top


  • WebcamA video camera that inputs to a computer connected to the internet, so that its images can be seen by internet users.

    WidgetThere are several different types of widget. A desktop widget is a small program such as a clock or a calendar that runs on the Desktop. A mobile widget offers the same functionality on a smartphone.

    WIFIA local area network that uses high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of a few hundred feet; uses ethernet protocol.


    Back to top


  • XMLA versatile type of document that can store various types of information. (Short for Extensible Markup Language.)


    Back to top


  • ZIP fileA file that can contain a number of compressed documents or files.


    Back to top