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de- +‎ reference



dereference (third-person singular simple present dereferences, present participle dereferencing, simple past and past participle dereferenced)

  1. (programming) To access the value or object located in a memory location addressed by a pointer or another value interpreted as such; to access a value being referenced by something else.
    Attempting to dereference a null pointer often results in a crash.
  2. (computing, in operating systems derived from Unix) To operate on the file or directory pointed to by a symbolic link, rather than on the link itself.
    Synonyms: follow, resolve
    With the find command, any symbolic links appearing after -follow will be dereferenced.



dereference (plural dereferences)

  1. The act by which something is dereferenced.
    • 1999, Michael Barry Greenwald, Non-blocking synchronization and system design, page 77:
      Either each dereference must use a complicated DCAS protocol, or each pointer must include a version number that is managed on each modification and checked on each dereference, or storage management must be tightly coupled []

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