Richard Braithwaite first uses the word 'computer'

Richard Braithwaite first uses the word 'computer'

The first recorded use of the word 'computer' in the English language is in a book called The Yong Mans Gleanings by Richard Braithwaite.

Richard Braithwaite was an English poet and writer, born in 1588.

His 1613 book, The Yong Mans Gleanings, describes a person as "the truest computer … the best arithmetician that ever breathed".

At this point in history, computers were people who carried out calculations by hand, rather than machines. This use of the word 'computer' to describe a person’s job continued to the 1950s, with NASA employing mathematicians such as Katherine Johnson to work as human computers. Her story is told in the film Hidden Figures.

Related information:


  • Richard Brathwaite by Charles Pye. Line engraving, published 1 January 1823. NPG D27889

    Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London, Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0





Richard Braithwaite first uses the word 'computer'

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