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(jargon, abuse)
/loo'zr/ A user; especially one who is also a loser. (luser and loser are pronounced identically.) This word was coined around 1975 at MIT.

Under ITS, when you first walked up to a terminal at MIT and typed Control-Z to get the computer's attention, it printed out some status information, including how many people were already using the computer; it might print "14 users", for example. Someone thought it would be a great joke to patch the system to print "14 losers" instead. There ensued a great controversy, as some of the users didn't particularly want to be called losers to their faces every time they used the computer. For a while several hackers struggled covertly, each changing the message behind the back of the others; any time you logged into the computer it was even money whether it would say "users" or "losers". Finally, someone tried the compromise "lusers", and it stuck.

Later one of the ITS machines supported "luser" as a request-for-help command. ITS died the death in mid-1990, except as a museum piece; the usage lives on, however, and the term "luser" is often seen in program comments.

See: also LART. Compare: tourist, weenie.
References in periodicals archive ?
Before training as an artist, Luser studied industrial design, and now he uses his knowledge in reverse.
lUser Friendly (Clive Brittain/George Duffield) adds the Irish Oaks to her haul when she gets the better of Market Booster at The Curragh.
With: Daniel Bruehl, August Diehl, Anna Maria Muehe, Thure Lindhardt, Jana Pallaske, Verena Bukal, Julia Dietze, Christoph Luser.