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1. the boards the acting profession; the stage
2. short for blackboard, chessboard, notice board, printed circuit board (see printed circuit), springboard, surfboard
3. Nautical
a. the side of a ship
b. the leg that a sailing vessel makes on a beat to windward
a. any of various portable surfaces specially designed for indoor games such as chess, backgammon, etc
b. (as modifier): board games
a. a set of hands in duplicate bridge
b. a wooden or metal board containing four slots, or often nowadays, a plastic wallet, in which the four hands are placed so that the deal may be replayed with identical hands
6. the hull of a sailboard, usually made of plastic, to which the mast is jointed and on which a windsurfer stands
7. sweep the board (in gambling) to win all the cards or money


A long thin piece of lumber cut from a log; typically with a rectangular cross section; can be hand-hewn, hand-sawn, or mill-sawn.



a usually rectangular plate of a specific size made from an electrically insulating material that is used in electrical and electronic apparatus as a base for the positioning and mechanical attachment of electrical and electronic components. It may also be used for the application of printed components and for the electrical interconnection of the components by means of wire or printed circuits.

Boards must provide the best possible characteristics for mechanical and electrical strength, stability of geometric dimensions and electrical parameters, resistance to climatic and mechanical influences, and ease of machining. These requirements vary depending on the intended use of the board, the operating conditions, and the arrangement of components. Materials usually used for boards include laminated plastics (electrical Micarta, textolite, and fiberglass laminate), phenol plastics, fluoroplastics, and molding materials of the AG-4 type.


A piece of lumber whose dimensions are less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) thick and between 4 and 12 inches (10 and 30 centimeters) wide.


1. Lumber less than 2 in. (5 cm) thick and between 4 in. (10 cm) and 12 in. (30 cm) in width; a board less than 4 in. (10 cm) wide may be classified as a strip.
2. Short for switchboard.
3. A box-office ticket board or seating chart.


In-context synonym for bboard; sometimes used even for Usenet newsgroups.


An electronic circuit board.


(1) (Bulletin Board System) A computer system used as an information source and forum for a particular interest group. They were widely used in the U.S. to distribute shareware and drivers and had their heyday in the 1980s and first part of the 1990s, all before the Web took off. A BBS functions somewhat like a stand-alone website, but without graphics. However, unlike Web access via one connection to the Internet, each BBS had its own telephone number to dial up.

Although still used in some parts of the world where there is little or no Internet access, most every resource found on a BBS migrated to the Web. Software companies may still maintain their old BBS to serve as alternate venues for downloading drivers.

Comm Programs Are Required
To access a BBS, a general-purpose communications program such as Crosstalk or Qmodem Pro is used. The address list in a comm program stores telephone numbers like a Web browser stores bookmarked URLs.

(2) (BIOS Boot Specification) A Plug and Play BIOS format that enables the user to determine the boot sequence. See OPROM.

expansion card

A printed circuit board that plugs into a slot on the motherboard and enables a computer to control a peripheral device. Also called an "interface card," "adapter" or "controller," all the printed circuit boards that plug into a computer's bus are technically expansion cards, because they "expand" the computer's capability. PCI and PCI Express are common expansion cards in use today (see PCI and PCI Express).

Cards Used to Be the Norm
In earlier PCs, controllers for drives, input/output ports, display, network and sound all resided on separate plug-in cards. Subsequently, peripheral control was built into the chipset (see PC chipset); however, users still have options to install their own controllers. For example, in order to enhance video game performance, a faster graphics card can be plugged into an empty PCI or PCI Express slot, and the internal display circuit on the motherboard can be disabled. See motherboard and expansion port. See also bus extender.

Cards Galore
Expansion cards come in many shapes and sizes, but they all conform to a specific pin format on the motherboard. This is a pile of graphics cards and Ethernet adapters with some sound boards thrown in for good measure. See PC data buses.

Cards Galore
Expansion cards come in many shapes and sizes, but they all conform to a specific pin format on the motherboard. This is a pile of graphics cards and Ethernet adapters with some sound boards thrown in for good measure. See PC data buses.

printed circuit board

A rigid, flat board that holds chips and other electronic components. The printed circuit board (PCB) is made of layers, from two to a dozen or more, that interconnect components via copper pathways. The main board in a computer is called the "system board" or "motherboard," while smaller ones that plug into slots on the main board are called "boards" or "cards." See motherboard, expansion card and flexible circuit.

Etched Circuits
The "printed" circuit is an etched circuit. A copper foil is placed over a fiberglass or plastic base of each layer and covered with a photoresist. Light is beamed through a negative image of the circuit paths onto the photoresist, hardening the areas that will remain after etching. When passed through an acid bath, the unhardened areas are washed away, and the finished layers are then glued together. The etching process is also used to create integrated circuits (chips).

Starting in the 1940s
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) were first used in the 1940s to connect discrete components together. By the 1960s, they were widely used in all electronic systems, and as integrated circuits emerged in the 1970s, chips were increasinbly mounted on the boards. Today, PCBs hold a few discrete elements but mostly chips, and each chip contains from thousands to billions of transistors (see chip). See surface mount, via and discrete component.

Motherboard and Expansion Cards
This Baby AT board is an example of an early PC motherboard. It accepted both ISA and PCI cards containing peripheral controllers. See ISA and PCI.

Boards Can Be Very Small
This earlier WOW HD board from SRS Labs created a more dynamic audio experience for music listeners. The complex processing that takes place on tiny PCBs such as this was unthinkable in the early days of computing. (Images courtesy of SRS Labs, Inc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) recently released the designation of neonatal/pediatric specialist for respiratory therapists who successfully pass the examination for this content area.

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