nybble

[prev][up][next]
nybble /nib'l/ (alt. `nibble') /n./ [from /v./ `nibble' by analogy with `bite' => `byte'] Four bits; one hex digit; a half-byte. Though `byte' is now techspeak, this useful relative is still jargon. Compare byte; see also bit, Apparently the `nybble' spelling is uncommon in Commonwealth Hackish, as British orthography suggests the pronunciation /ni:'bl/.

Following `bit', `byte' and `nybble' there have been quite a few analogical attempts to construct unambiguous terms for bit blocks of other sizes. All of these are strictly jargon, not techspeak, and not very common jargon at that (most hackers would recognize them in context but not use them spontaneously). We collect them here for reference together with the ambiguous techspeak terms `word', `half-word' and `quadwords'; some (indicated) have substantial information separate entries. 2 bits: crumb, quad, quarter, tayste 4 bits: nybble 5 bits: nickle 10 bits: deckle 16 bits: playte, chawmp (on a 32-bit machine), word (on a 16-bit machine), half-word (on a 32-bit machine). 18 bits: chawmp (on a 36-bit machine), half-word (on a 36-bit machine) 32 bits: dynner, gawble (on a 32-bit machine), word (on a 32-bit machine), longword (on a 16-bit machine). 36: word (on a 36-bit machine) 48 bits: gawble (under circumstances that remain obscure)

The fundamental motivation for most of these jargon terms (aside from the normal hackerly enjoyment of punning wordplay) is the extreme ambiguity of the term `word' and its derivatives.


[prev][up][next]
Return to Cool Jargon of the Day