What expression do you "import" from programming while talking, in a non-work context, with other programmers?

Is "2.0" the only expression that made it into mainstream?

+3  A: 
  • "disambiguate"
  • "orthogonal"
  • "idempotent"
  • "tedious and error-prone"
2 and 3 are actually mathematical terms. :-)
Paul Nathan
Here's an answer I gave today, where I used "orthogonal" in a programming context:
Don't you mean 1 and 2 are methematical terms? :)
+3  A: 

Dude, everything. A few:

ping (someone)

cache (an idea back into my head)

pop (a topic from the conversation stack)


lol, nice! (why 15 char min not 10 now?)
+14  A: 

I discovered that many people don't know what parse means. Used in a sentence:

"I cant parse what you are saying"

Also: iterate and increment are two common programmer words that you might use in a regular sentence most people don't seem to understand.
Although I do remember "parse" coming up in the last presidential campaign.
+4  A: 

I'm constantly surrounded by programmers, it's hard to separate jargon from natural language.. That's probably why my girlfriend thinks I'm a nerd :)

+2  A: 
  • implement
  • encapsulate
  • agile
  • cast ("I cast level 3 Guard!") jk, I don't even know what MTG is
Cory Larson
I use "cast" in a type-conversion way. It really confuses any non-programmer standing around.
+3  A: 
  • wtf?
  • n00b
  • lulz
  • NullReferenceException
The second and third aren't programming-related, really, although the first and last are.
David Thornley
+8  A: 
  • bug as "it doesn't works"
  • ping
  • nerd as "smart", "cool"
  • lol/rotfl in place of "ahahahahah"
+1 for the naive "nerd" definition. Or shall I say superficial instead of naive?
dr. evil
you use "lok/rotfl" while talking ?
@ldigas: sometimes! :D
rotful doesn't sound as pleasant as rofle :p
I never use "nerd" meaning cool -- that's "geek". The way I heard it described: A geek *knows* he's a geek and is proud of it. A nerd doesn't know he's a nerd.
Graeme Perrow
I use "LOL" when talking.. LOL.
+5  A: 

Busy-waiting (e.g., Let's not all stand here and busy-wait until the conference room is free).

Brute force


+3  A: 

This is difficult as most of these jargon words and phrases stem from non-programming concepts originally, so they don't necessarily sound out of place in isolation. It's more the frequency with which I use these in real life which marks me out as a programmer:

  • Pattern
  • Rationalize
  • Normalize
  • Robustness
  • Debug
  • Traversal
  • Garbage-in-garbage-out
  • First-in-first-out
  • Reboot
  • Class
+4  A: 
  • parse(which is simply an linguistics word that was brought into computer use)

  • orthogonal(although this is a linear algebra(originally geometry) term)

  • ping

In general, my speech patterns are more precise and literal than the average person I interact with. I have also made a conscious effort to speak "non-geek" when I am not speaking on work topics, for the purposes of clarity in communication to the average educated person.

Paul Nathan
Orthogonal is a geometry word that was brought into linear algebra.
David Berger
@David. Did not know that. Thank you. :-)
Paul Nathan


Jim Evans
+1  A: 

call to fork() failed.

+3  A: 

I find myself using logging for taking notes.

+1  A: 

parse cache ping grep kill -9

+6  A: 

"Overloaded", as in "They've overloaded the use of the word..."

+3  A: 

Interface and Exception Jokes.

Such as in:

"I'm gonna take a core dump"

reply: "TooMuchInformationException"

+1  A: 

I have a programmer friend who uses "return from interrupt" after being sidetracked (or, more often, sidetracking himself) and returning to the original topic of discussion.

Carl Manaster
+2  A: 

I have a tendency to use names for some of the funny punctuation that come from geeky sources, such as discussions of Unix commands and pipes, as well as some borrowed from too much time playing rogue, hack, and nethack...

People look at me funny when I refer to ! as "bang", but they get it quickly. Clarifying which of < and > I meant by calling it an up or down staircase only muddies the waters unless there are other rogue-like players in the conversation.

Most people don't seem to know the correct names for | and # so calling them "pipe" and "hash" seems to not raise too many eyebrows. And it seems that "twiddle" for ~ is accepted without a murmur most of the time.

... So what are the correct names for `|` and `#`. I know the `#` is called a poundsign, but only in the context of phones, AFAIK.
I'm confused... I believe pipe and hash are the *correct* names for those characters....
Billy ONeal
`#` has a bunch of "correct" names, but "number sign" reflects its usual business usage and is common for international usage, "pound sign" is traditional in the US, "hash" is broadly understood, and "octothorpe" will get you funny looks from anyone not familiar with Bell Labs. `|` is most correctly known as "vertical bar", but Unix users will tend to say "pipe" instead. See wiki [here]( and [here]( for their takes.
+1  A: 


Like when I'm trying watch a DVD with more than the usual number of anti-piracy warnings, previews, bonus features, and what-not: "Just PTFM!"

Alan Moore
+3  A: 

"Could you hand me a pen?"

"404, Not Found"

Roman Plášil
My brother does this when I ask him to pass the potatoes. "Server not found..."
Michael Myers
I always think "[something]" not found when I see a 404 in real life. Like, if I'm looking up someone's address, and they live on 404 Main St., I think "404 -- address not found"
+2  A: 

cycles, as in "I don't have the cycles to handle your request right now". See also: bandwidth.

+1  A: 


When I point and some text and say something like "This string here means...", no one knows what I'm talking about.

As others have mentioned, "parse".

+2  A: 

"It's on the table somewhere."

"Can you give me an index, or am I going to have to do a full table scan?"

Yes, my wife does a lot of DBA work, including query optimization.

David Thornley

I use string, double and some other datatypes in my everyday talk. I also use parse.


Heard this one on the place I work:

"My car should have a flag that enables it to park anywhere"

Paulo Guedes

"Would you like fries or a salad with that?"

Just give me the default.

Mike Robinson

Maybe not import into, but maybe a back import". "stack overflow".

No layperson has any clue when encountering such an error message.

Easiest explanation I've come to is to ask an analogue, "It's 10PM, do you know where you're kids are?", when the supposed answer is 'no':

The kids are the stack, and we need them to run the future and protect the past, but we don't know where they are.

Nathan Ernst

One and only one, and I didn't even notice I was doing it until someone asked me what it meant:


Clark Gaebel