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jiffy /n./ 1. The duration of one tick of the system clock on
your computer (see tick). Often one AC cycle time (1/60 second
in the U.S. and Canada, 1/50 most other places), but more recently
1/100 sec has become common. "The swapper runs every 6 jiffies"
means that the virtual memory management routine is executed once
for every 6 ticks of the clock, or about ten times a second.
2. Confusingly, the term is sometimes also used for a 1-millisecond
wall time interval. Even more confusingly, physicists
semi-jokingly use `jiffy' to mean the time required for light to
travel one foot in a vacuum, which turns out to be close to one
*nanosecond*. 3. Indeterminate time from a few seconds to
forever. "I'll do it in a jiffy" means certainly not now and
possibly never. This is a bit contrary to the more widespread use
of the word. Oppose nano. See also Real Soon Now.
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