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see programming languageprogramming language,
syntax, grammar, and symbols or words used to give instructions to a computer. Development of Low-Level Languages

All computers operate by following machine language programs, a long sequence of instructions called machine code that is
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third letter of the alphabetalphabet
[Gr. alpha-beta, like Eng. ABC], system of writing, theoretically having a one-for-one relation between character (or letter) and phoneme (see phonetics). Few alphabets have achieved the ideal exactness.
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. In position and form, but not in meaning, it corresponds to Greek gamma (see GG,
7th letter of the alphabet. It is a usual symbol for a voiced velar stop, as in the English go. It was originally a differentiated form of Greek gamma, which has C as its formal Roman correspondent. In musical notation G represents a note on the scale.
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). In English it is pronounced variously, e.g., in can, cent, church, and loch. In musical notationmusical notation,
symbols used to make a written record of musical sounds.

Two different systems of letters were used to write down the instrumental and the vocal music of ancient Greece. In his five textbooks on music theory Boethius (c.A.D. 470–A.D.
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 it symbolizes a note in the scale. In chemistry it is the symbol of the element carboncarbon
[Lat.,=charcoal], nonmetallic chemical element; symbol C; at. no. 6; interval in which at. wt. ranges 12.0096–12.0116; m.p. about 3,550°C;; graphite sublimes about 3,375°C;; b.p. 4,827°C;; sp. gr. 1.8–2.1 (amorphous), 1.9–2.3 (graphite), 3.
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. The capital letter is the Roman numeral for 100.


(science and technology)
(particle physics)


(computer science)
A programming language designed to implement the Unix operating system.


1. On drawings, abbr. for course.
2. Abbr. for centigrade or “Celsius.”

class A, B, C, D, E, F

A classification applied to fire doors, fire windows, roof coverings, interior finishes, places of assembly, etc., to indicate gradations of fire safety. See fire-endurance, fire-door rating.


a computer programming language combining the advantages of a high-level language with the ability to address the computer at a level comparable with that of an assembly language


A programming language designed by Dennis Ritchie at AT&T Bell Labs ca. 1972 for systems programming on the PDP-11 and immediately used to reimplement Unix.

It was called "C" because many features derived from an earlier compiler named "B". In fact, C was briefly named "NB". B was itself strongly influenced by BCPL. Before Bjarne Stroustrup settled the question by designing C++, there was a humorous debate over whether C's successor should be named "D" or "P" (following B and C in "BCPL").

C is terse, low-level and permissive. It has a macro preprocessor, cpp.

Partly due to its distribution with Unix, C became immensely popular outside Bell Labs after about 1980 and is now the dominant language in systems and microcomputer applications programming. It has grown popular due to its simplicity, efficiency, and flexibility. C programs are often easily adapted to new environments.

C is often described, with a mixture of fondness and disdain, as "a language that combines all the elegance and power of assembly language with all the readability and maintainability of assembly language".

Ritchie's original C, known as K&R C after Kernighan and Ritchie's book, has been standardised (and simultaneously modified) as ANSI C.

See also ACCU, ae, c68, c386, C-Interp, cxref, dbx, dsp56k-gcc, dsp56165-gcc, gc, GCT, GNU C, GNU superoptimiser, Harvest C, malloc, mpl, Pthreads, ups.


(1) See coulomb.

(2) A high-level programming language developed at Bell Labs that is also able to manipulate the computer at a low level like assembly language. Developed in the 1970s, by the end of the 1980s, C became the language of choice for developing commercial software. C, and its object-oriented successor C++, are used to write a huge variety of applications and almost all operating systems. There are C/C++ compilers for all major operating systems and hardware platforms. C was standardized by ANSI (X3J11 committee) and ISO in 1989.

C++ (C Plus Plus)
Created by Bjarne Stroustrup and renamed from "C with Classes" to C++ in 1983, the language became popular because it combined traditional C with object-oriented programming (OOP). In contrast, Smalltalk (the first OOP language) and other OOP languages did not provide the familiar structures of conventional languages such as C and Pascal. See object-oriented programming, Visual C++, Objective-C, C# and Managed C++.

Nothing But Functions
C and C++ are written as a series of functions that call each other for processing. Even the body of the program is a function named "main." Functions are very flexible, allowing programmers to choose from the standard library that comes with the compiler, to use third party libraries or to develop their own.

Its Origin
C was developed to allow Unix to run on a variety of computers. After Bell Labs' Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie created Unix and got it running on several PDP computers, they wanted a way to easily port it to other machines without having to rewrite it from scratch. Thompson created the B language, which was a simpler version of the BCPL language, itself a version of CPL. Later, in order to improve B, Thompson and Ritchie created C.

The following examples convert Fahrenheit to centigrade in C and C++. For another example of C code, see event loop.

 In C

 main()   {
  float fahr;
  printf("Enter Fahrenheit: ");
  scanf("%f", &fahr);
  printf("Celsius is %f\n", (fahr-32)*5/9);

 In C++

 void main() {
  float fahr;
  cout << "Enter Fahrenheit: "; 
  cin >> fahr;
  fahr = (((fahr-32)*5)/9);
  cout << "Celsius = " << fahr << endl;
  return 0;
References in periodicals archive ?
Andalusia's regional elections take place on March 22nd and should be a good barometre of how C's is doing on a national level.
8220;The Seven C's of EB-5 Investing methodology helps foreign nationals seeking a Green Card to determine the optimal EB-5 business to invest in,” says Managing Partner Greg Wing.
A tightening of loan regulations by financial institutions due to the subprime loans problem caused a rapid financing crunch,'' C's Create Chief Executive Officer Hisashi Yuki said at a press conference in Tokyo.
The graphic design team at 360 PSG created a custom website for Jonny C's giving them a more professional presence online to present their menus and catering services to a larger audience.
D proposes to divide X, by means of trustee-to-trustee transfers, into two distinct IRAs maintained in A's name--a transferee IRA for the benefit of B and the second for the benefit of Q the subtrust created under T, for C's benefit.
P settles the suit for a $600,000 damage payment excludible from C's gross income.
C's Liquor, owned by Bill and Mary Chan, has been named California Lottery's Retailer of the Year.
The agreement provides that B, acting as C's authorized agent, will administer a fundraising program for C for a fee.
If this amount is insufficient to provide C's proper care, maintenance, support and general welfare, Trust B's trustee could authorize additional payments to C.
1363(d), C's conversion to an S corporation triggered the inclusion of a pro-rata share of the affiliated group's pre-S LIFO reserves into C's income.
The Tax Court, in a memorandum opinion, held for the Service; B's personal guarantee of C's debt on the Bank loan did not entitle him to increase his basis in C.