accumulator /n. obs./ 1. Archaic term for a register. On-line
use of it as a synonym for `register' is a fairly reliable
indication that the user has been around for quite a while and/or
that the architecture under discussion is quite old. The term in
full is almost never used of microprocessor registers, for example,
though symbolic names for arithmetic registers beginning in `A'
derive from historical use of the term `accumulator' (and not,
actually, from `arithmetic'). Confusingly, though, an `A'
register name prefix may also stand for `address', as for
example on the Motorola 680x0 family. 2. A register being used for
arithmetic or logic (as opposed to addressing or a loop index),
especially one being used to accumulate a sum or count of many
items. This use is in context of a particular routine or stretch
of code. "The FOOBAZ routine uses A3 as an accumulator."
3. One's in-basket (esp. among old-timers who might use sense 1).
"You want this reviewed? Sure, just put it in the accumulator."
Return to Cool Jargon of the Day