buffer

Definitions

General English

Computing

Construction

  • Blasted rock left at a face to improve fragmentation and reduce scatter during a subsequent blast.
  • A loose metal mat used to control scattering of blast rock. See also spring buffer and oil buffer.

Electronics

  • A segment of computer memory utilized to temporarily store information that awaits transfer or processing. Used, for instance, to compensate for differences in operating speeds. Also called buffer memory, buffer storage (2), or input buffer.
  • A circuit, device, or component which helps prevent undesirable interactions between other circuits, devices, or components.
  • An amplifier which isolates successive stages to help prevent undesirable interactions between them. Also called buffer amplifier, or isolation amplifier.

Food

  • noun a substance that keeps a constant balance between acid and alkali
  • noun a solution in which the pH is not changed by adding acid or alkali
  • verb to prevent a solution from becoming acid

Information & Library Science

  • noun a temporary storage area for data being transmitted between two devices that function at different speeds.

Politics

  • noun a country or area of land between two countries which prevents them attacking one another

Origin & History of “buffer”

neither buffer ‘fellow’ (18th c.) nor buffer ‘shock absorber’ (19th c.) can be traced back with any certainty to a source, but the likeliest conjecture is that they both come (independently) from an obsolete English verb buff, which was probably originally (like puff) imitative of the sound of blowing or breathing out. The earliest recorded sense of this, in the late 13th century, was ‘stammer’, and so the human buffer may originally have been a ‘stammerer’. By the 16th century we find the verb being used in the sense ‘make the sound of something soft being hit’, which is a likely source of buffer ‘shock absorber’.
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