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From de- +‎ bug.



debug (third-person singular simple present debugs, present participle debugging, simple past and past participle debugged)

  1. (computer science) To search for and eliminate malfunctioning elements or errors in something, especially a computer program or machinery.
    • 1945, The Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society, volume 49, page 183:
      It ranged from the pre-design development of essential components, through the stage of type test and flight test and "debugging" right through to later development of the engine to higher powers and efficiency.
    • 1970, Behavior Research Methods and Instrumentation, volume 2, page 36:
      It debugs all program errors, including those that are hardware initiated.
    • 2015, Steve Suehring, Linux Firewalls: Enhancing Security with nftables and Beyond[1], page 140:
      Additionally, it's up to you to remember to remove this cron entry when you've debugged the firewall.
  2. (electronics) To remove a hidden electronic surveillance device from (somewhere).
    • 1969, John Millar Carroll, The Third Listener: Personal Electronic Espionage, page 30:
      Typical fees: $75 to check a particular telephone, $125 to debug one room, $500 to debug a suite of offices— all plus expenses and transportation.
    • 2012, Ronald Kessler, Inside the CIA[2], page 172:
      It conducts background investigations of new CIA employees and CIA contractors, administers polygraph tests to employees and agents, debugs offices at Langley and overseas stations, patrols the buildings and grounds, protects the director and other key CIA officials, and investigates security problems.
    • 2013, F. Garzia, Handbook of Communications Security[3], page 620:
      It is good to acquire information about how to perform the debugging operation and the type of tools that will be used, from which you may already have an idea of the technical and instrumental skills, having acquired a plenty of technical information after reading this chapter.
  3. (US) To remove insects from (somewhere), especially lice.
    • 1905 June 15, A. J. R., “With the Long Bow”, in The Minneapolis Journal[4], Minneapolis, Minn., retrieved 2017-02-15, page 14:
      Mr. Moses started out his garden this year with only two toads. As they were differently marked, they soon became known as "Henry" and "Frank." Henry was strong in the pursuit of "ants." Every morning he is seen perched on his favorite hill "anting" for breakfast. Frank's occupation is that of debugging the roses and beating up the paths for miscellaneous insects.
    • 1999, Stephen E. Goldstone, The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex: A Medical Handbook for Men, page 59:
      You can debug yourself at home with various over-the- counter medications.
    • 2011, Jay Heinrichs, Home Remedies from a Country Doctor:
      If you find nits, it's time for some serious debugging.
    • 2013, Peter Jackson, Sacrifice, Captivity and Escape: The Remarkable Memoirs of a Japanese POW, page 165:
      Before we moved into our new quarters we, and our belongings, had to be deloused and debugged.


Derived terms[edit]



debug (countable and uncountable, plural debugs)

  1. The action, or a session, of reviewing source code to find and eliminate errors.
    • 2009, Dale Liu, Cisco CCNA/CCENT Exam 640-802, 640-822, 640-816 Preparation Kit:
      It may appear odd in the example that the no debug all command was entered before and after the debug was done. The first command is unnecessary, but getting into this habit can save you!
    • 2019, James K. Peckol, Embedded Systems: A Contemporary Design Tool (page 539)
      What should be the next steps following a test failure during debug?