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(jargon, programming)
A misfeature of a system, especially a programming language or environment, that tends to breed bugs or mistakes because it both enticingly easy to invoke and completely unexpected and/or unreasonable in its outcome.

For example, a classic gotcha in C is the fact that

if (a=b) code;

is syntactically valid and sometimes even correct. It puts the value of "b" into "a" and then executes "code" if "a" is non-zero. What the programmer probably meant was

if (a==b) code;

which executes "code" if "a" and "b" are equal.
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References in periodicals archive ?
student in computer science, who developed GOTCHAs along with Manuel Blum, professor of computer science, and Anupam Datta, associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering.
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The Gotcha Program reflects the Towson State University Police Department's commitment to protect and serve the campus community.
Oscar Feldenkreis, President and Chief Operating Officer of Perry Ellis International, said: "This is a great opportunity to increase penetration of the Gotcha brand to additional, complementary categories with a licensee that can clearly interpret the essence of the Gotcha lifestyle.
A Gotcha spokesman added: "No one wants to be the bearer of bad news but it's better off knowing than not knowing.
Designed to mark the video launch of film Runaway Bride, the Tom-I Gotcha is physically attached to the wrist so, like a real relationship, there's no escape.
FEBRUARY 1999: Former Rangers star Ally McCoist is on the receiving end of a Gotcha.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif & TOKYO -- Ooyala and Gotcha Media announced today that they have collaborated to provide the stream for TEDxTokyo 2010 in HD on May 15th, 2010.
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Fifth favourite at 10-1 is Gotcha, the distasteful headline in a downmarket tabloid during the Falklands War.