Easter Egg

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Easter egg

a bonus or extra feature hidden inside a website, computer game, or DVD, that is only revealed after repeated or lengthy viewing or playing

Easter Egg


a decorated egg. Easter eggs derive from the decorated eggs found in burial mounds belonging to pagan times. The eggs subsequently became a ritual in the celebration of the Christian holiday Easter. Egg decoration, consisting mainly of geometric or foliage designs strictly subordinated to the shape of the egg, is a popular form of decorative art among many peoples, including Slavs.


Sumtsov, N. F. “Pisanki.” Kievskaia Starina, 1891, May-June.
Lubenskii muzei E. N. Skarzhinskoi. Kiev, 1890.

easter egg

(From the custom of the Easter Egg hunt observed in the US and many parts of Europe)

1. A message hidden in the object code of a program as a joke, intended to be found by persons disassembling or browsing the code.

2. A message, graphic, sound effect, or other behaviour emitted by a program (or, on an IBM PC, the BIOS ROM) in response to some undocumented set of commands or keystrokes, intended as a joke or to display program credits.

One well-known early Easter egg found in a couple of operating systems caused them to respond to the command "make love" with "not war?". Many personal computers, and even satellite control computers, have much more elaborate eggs hidden in ROM, including lists of the developers' names (e.g. Microsoft Windows 3.1x), political exhortations and snatches of music. The Tandy Color Computer 3 (CoCo) had images of the entire development team. Microsoft Excel 97 includes a flight simulator!


Easter Egg

An undocumented function hidden in software that may or may not be sanctioned by management. Easter Eggs are secret "goodies" found by word of mouth or accident. They are also used in video games, movies, TV commercials, DVDs, CDs, CD-ROMs and every so often in hardware.

In Applications
Very often, pressing some key combination when the About box is open (Help/About) displays the names of the developers who worked on the software. A video game might display the game designer's name when a certain maneuver is completed.

The Media
A movie or TV Easter Egg could be a date on a calendar of a famous event that provides a clue to the movie's ending. The headline in a newspaper casually lying on the table might offer a clue or perhaps some tongue-in-cheek comment.

The right menu sequence on a DVD might produce extra trailers, and extra bonus tracks (extra goodies) may also be called Easter Eggs.

In Hardware
A hardware Easter Egg might play a song if a certain key combination is pressed. For more information, visit www.eeggs.com. See back door, cheat code and cuckoo egg.