General English


  • noun the action of performing several different tasks at the same time
  • noun running several different software programs at the same time


  • adjective able to run two or more programs at the same time
  • noun the ability of a computer system to run two or more programs at the same time


  • The simultaneous execution of two or more programs by a single CPU. Multitasking may be preemptive, in which all tasks take turns at having the attention of the CPU, or cooperative, where the foreground task allows background tasks access to the CPU at given times, such as when it is idle. Either way, it appears to the user as if all programs are executed simultaneously. Currently, most computers are capable of multitasking, and factors such as increased processor speed and additional RAM better equip a system for such use. Also spelled multi-tasking. Also called multiprogramming.
  • synonymmulti-programming