Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


The process of attempting to determine the cause of the symptoms of malfunctions in a program or other system. These symptoms may be detected during testing or use by real users.

Symptoms are often caused by factors outside the program, such as misconfiguration of the user's operating system, misunderstanding by the user (see PEBCAK) or failures in other external systems on which the program relies. Some of these are more in the realm of technical support but need to be eliminated. Debugging really starts when it has been established that the program is not behaving according to its specification (which may be formal or informal). It can be done by visual inspection of the source code, debugging by printf or using a debugger. The result may be that the program is actually behaving as specified but that the spec is wrong or the requirements on which it was based were deficient in some way (see BAD).

Once a bug has been identified and a fix applied, the program must be tested to determine whether the bug is really fixed and what effects the changes have had on other aspects of the program's operation (see regression testing).

The term is said to have been coined by Grace Hopper, based on the term "bug".
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in periodicals archive ?
Source code debugging tools also should be flexible, providing the programmer with multiple ways to control program execution.
It would provide tremendous benefits, promoting software functions from successful programs while allowing improved debugging of errors or elements missing from others.
Etnus is a leading provider of debugging and analysis solutions for complex code.
Anyone rapidly debugging a document should make certain that
The quality of debugging tools for developers has a direct effect on the quality of the resulting software; if developers can't find and fix bugs, the software can't improve quickly enough.
StarVision[R] PRO flagship tool which combines the debugging features of all individual Vision tools into one customizable mixed-signal and mixed-language tool.
Current best practices for debugging mobile apps, even those built with a low-code platform, involve a complicated series of plug-in installations, configuration settings, and scripts.
The puck-shaped MPLAB ICD 4 is housed in a durable, black case with a brushed aluminum top and is accented with an LED light strip to indicate debugging status.
In contrast to it, this paper presents one method which only some SFR (special function register) needed to realize the main debugging functions such as single step operation, breakpoint, etc.
For more information on testing and debugging, see
* After connecting your device to the computer, you will have to enable USB debugging. In some cases, your computer detects the new device automatically but if it doesn't, here's how to do so depending on your Android OS version:
The initial success stories of TotalView debugging applications on this critical architecture predict even greater achievements in the future, stated Chris Gottbrath, Principal Product Manager at Rogue Wave Software.