computress

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

computer +‎ -ess

Noun[edit]

computress (plural computresses)

  1. (obsolete) female equivalent of computer (a person employed to perform computations; one who computes)
    • 1962, The Volta Review
      Picture a girl, we usually call her a computress, using a desk calculator. Suppose we had given her a sheet of paper containing several columns of numbers and suppose further we had given her a set of written instructions directing her to sum each colum of numbers and then to divide each sum by the number of entries in its column so as to find the average of each column, and finally to enter this value below the appropriate column. Notice that the computress in this task performs []
    • 1963, Lloyd S. Shapley, Solutions of Compound Simple Games
      Compare this with today when a programmer performs the task once for all and the computress performs a single-hand computation which is sufficient for all. Then our computers, large willing slaves, unerringly and without complaint produce all the answers you are willing to pay for.
    • 1984, M. D. Fagen, Amos E. Joel, G. E. Schindler, Bell Telephone Laboratories, A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: Communications sciences (1925-1980)
      When they began using computers, their classification changed from computress to the more esteemed title of programmer. Computing expertise diffused throughout the company wherever it was needed. This arrangement, which differed markedly from what evolved in most commercial establishments, and even in some other research labs, sprang directly from the historically collaborative environment of Bell Labs.