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    bandwidth : a measure of frequency range, typically measured in hertz. Bandwidth is a central concept in many fields, including information theory, radio communications, signal processing, and spectroscopy; there is no single universal definition of bandwidth, as it is vaguely understood to be a measure of how wide a function is in the frequency domain. Bandwidth is related to channel capacity for information transmission and often the two can be confused. In particular, in common usage 'bandwidth' also refers to data transmission rates when communicating over certain media or devices.

computing & web

  bandwidth : the rate at which the current connection supports the transmission and reception of data.


  banknote : a note issued by a bank undertaking to pay the bearer the face value of the note on demand. Banknotes in England had their origin in the receipts issued by London goldsmiths in the seventeenth century for gold deposited with them for safe-keeping; the hole practice of banking had its origin in the activities of these goldsmiths, who began lending money and whose deposit receipts came to be used as money; later the goldsmiths issued banknotes, and so did the banks that developed later still.



  bankruptcy : a declaration by a court of law that an individual or company is insolvent, that is, cannot meet its debts on due dates. A bankruptcy petition may be filed either by the debtor or by his creditors requesting a receiving order; an inquiry into the debtor's affairs is then conducted.




  barter : acquiring goods or services by means of exchange for other goods or services, rather than for money; for example, corporations specializing in barter deals offer to buy surplus products in exchange for TV advertising time, specified by the barter corporation.


  basic (measurement) unit : a unit of measurement of a basic physical quantity, i.e. a measurement unit for which a standard (an object or a procedure) has been established. Each system of measurement units has certain number of units (called "basic units") defined by standards, while the rest of units (called 'derived units') is derived from the basic units.
      NOTE: Basic measurement units are called "fundamental" in some textbooks and manuals. This is unfortunate because there is nothing fundamental in the choice of these units, it is a matter of convenience.

derived units


batch : a group of similar items produced, processed or gathered together and treated as a single unit; example: a set of computer files that are compressed simultaneously to speed up data entry.

    batch file : a text file in DOS and Windows with a series of commands intended to be executed by the command interpreter; analogous to a shell script in Unix-like operating systems. When the batch file is run, the shell program (usually or cmd.exe) reads the file and executes its commands.
    baud : a measure of the signaling rate : the number of changes to the transmission media per second, i.e. the number of signals per second. Note: baud and bps (bits per second) are not identical as each signal transmitted can carry one or more bits (as many as 256 in 256-QAM modulation); for example, a 2400 bps modem actually transmits at 600 baud, where each quadrature amplitude modulation event (i.e. signal) carries four bits of data.

geography : physical

  bay : a body of water (a part of a lake or ocean) surrounded by land on three sides; bays are generally smaller and less deeply indented than gulfs.



  BC : Before Christ : the conventional designation used in the Julian and Gregorian calendars to refer to a year before the beginning of the year count that starts with the supposed year of the birth of Jesus; e.g., 586 BC.


  BCE : before the Common Era : the calendar year designation introduced as a replacement for BC (before Christ) to circumvent religious implications; e.g., 586 BCE instead of 586 BC. However, BCE/CE system has not been used widely enough so as to have become commonly understood.

geography : physical

  beach or strand : a geological formation consisting of loose rock particles such as sand, shingle, cobble, or even shell along the shoreline of a body of water.
    Beaufort, Francis (1774–1857) : Rear-Admiral, Sir Francis Beaufort, Knight Commander of the Bath, entered the Royal Navy at the age of 13 and was a midshipman aboard the Aquilon. Beaufort is said to have had an illustrious career on the seas and by 1800 had risen to the rank of Commander. In the summer of 1805 Commander Beaufort was appointed to the command of the Woolwich, a 44 gun man-of-war. It was at this time that he devised his wind force scale; by 1838 the Beaufort wind force scale was made mandatory for log entries in all ships of the Royal Navy. Beaufort last served as Hydrographer to the Admiralty.   

Sir Francis Beaufort


Beaufort wind scale : a wind force scale designed by Sir Francis Beaufort; essentially an association of a set of integers (0 to 12) with a description of the state and behavior of a "well-conditioned man-of-war". Admiral Beaufort descriptions are from a sailing ship point of view (there is no mention of wind speed), in terms of the ship's characteristics under sail: Beaufort numbers 0 through 4 describe the wind in terms of its propelling ability; those for 5 through 9 in terms of ship’s mission and her sail carrying ability; and those for 10 through 12 in terms of ship’s survival. For example, #7 is "that to which a well-conditioned man-of-war could just carry in chase, full and by single-reefed topsails and top-gal. sail" and #10 is "that with which she could scarcely bear close-reefed main-topsail and reefed fore-sail".

As weather forecasting and meteorology was developed, the proliferation of Beaufort wind speed equivalents (more than 30 by 1900, some disagreeing by more than 100 percent) set a stage of world confusion. In 1912 the International Commission for Weather Telegraphy sought some agreement on velocity equivalents for the Beaufort scale. A uniform set of equivalents was accepted in 1926 and revised slightly in 1946. By 1955, wind velocities in knots replaced Beaufort numbers on weather maps. The current state of affairs is presented in the Handbook table; please note that wind speed is initially given in knots, and values in other units are approximative calculations.


bel (B) : dimensionless unit used in electronics, telecommunication and acoustics to express the ratio of two magnitudes on the common logarithmic scale; if I1 and I2 are the magnitudes of two same kind signals, then the number of bels, N, expressing their ration is

N = lg(I1/I2)

Magnitude Ii could be any physical quantity characteristic for a particular signal, e.g. voltage, current or power for an electric signal, and sound pressure for loudness in acoustics. If a reference magnitude I0 is established for a particular signal, then any signal of the same kind could be referenced to it by the number of bels.

Signals are compared on the logarithmic scale to cover the immense range of signal magnitudes; for instance, human hearing involves sound levels over fourteen orders of magnitude. In most applications bell appears as rather large measurement unit and decibel (dB), one tenth of bell, is commonly used.

decibel (dB)


  belated : coming very late or too late.

botany & gardening

  berry : a simple fruit having a pulpy pericarp in which seeds are embedded, as the grape, gooseberry, currant or tomato; a fleshy and juicy fruit.
    Bézier curve : a parametric curve widely used in computer graphics to model smooth curves. As the curve is completely contained in the convex hull of its control points, the points can be graphically displayed and used to manipulate the curve intuitively. Affine transformations such as translation, scaling and rotation can be applied on the curve by applying the respective transform on the control points of the curve.

Latin                    abbreviation

  bibl. : bibliotheca : library
    binary : of or involving two things or parts. In mathematics and computing, the binary (base 2) numeral system is a representation for numbers that uses only zeroes and ones as digits; for example: 1110 (base 2) = 14 (base 10).


  BIPM : International Bureau of Weights and Measures (in French: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures).

computing & web

  bit : the most basic information unit used in computing and information theory; a single bit is a one or a zero, a true or a false, a "flag" which is "on" or "off", or in general, the quantity of information required to distinguish two mutually exclusive states from each other; it is commonly abbreviated as b, but not in terms for large quantities of bits: e.g. kbit (kilobit), Mbit (megabit) and  Gbit (gigabit).

computing & web

  bitmap image : see  raster image

botany & gardening

  blade (also: lamina) : the expanded green portion of a leaf, as distinguished from the stalk or petiole.


  blogger : someone who keeps an online journal (called a 'web log' or 'blog'); devoted bloggers post thoughts and web links several times a day.
    Blue Marble : a spectacular true-color image of the entire Earth by NASA. Put together from data of 18 of the most advanced Earth-observing satellites ever built, such as Terra and Aqua, the Blue Marble can be seen in all its glory at a spatial resolution of 500 meter/pixel in 12 versions, one for each month of year. Cloud-contaminated or otherwise bad data are automatically recognized by the Blue Marble computer technique and removed. 
    body-mass index : a measure for assessing obesity : weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. An index of 30 or more is regarded as an indicator of obesity; 25 to 29.9 as overweight. Guidelines very for men and for women and may be adjusted for age.
botanical name : see  plant, botanical name


  BPI : bribe payers index

computing & web       acronym

  bpp : bits per pixel : a measure of color depth.

computing & web       acronym

  bps : bits per second : a measure of data transfer rate.

botany & gardening

  bract : a specialized (modified) leaf or leaflike part, usually situated at the base of a flower or inflorescence (flower cluster).


  breezy : a wind of speed 15 to 25 mph (13 to 22 knots; 24 to 40 km/h); synonym: brisk.
    brightness (of color) : the perception elicited by the luminance of a visual object; relative lightness or darkness of the color, usually measured as a percentage from 0% (black) to 100% (white); used as a parameter in the HSB color model.


brisk : a wind of speed 15 to 25 mph (13 to 22 knots; 24 to 40 km/h); synonym: breezy.


  bristle : one of the short, stiff, coarse hairs of certain animals, especially hogs, used extensively in making brushes.

Internet lingo

  BTW : by the way

botany & gardening

  bulb : an organ of storage and vegetative reproduction, consisting of a flattened, short underground stem, bearing fleshy leaves above and growing adventitious roots below.

botany & gardening

  bullate : blistered or puckered, usually applied to foliage.
    buzzword (also known as a 'fashion word' or 'vogue word') : a catchword or slogan popular in politics, management, a profession, etc. and often lacking precise meaning. Buzzwords are typically intended to impress one's audience with the pretense of knowledge and for this reason they are often universal (e.g., basically, breakthrough, diversity, framework, holistic, paradigm, perspective, standpoint, sustainability). They typically make statements difficult to dispute, on account of their obscuring meaning.


games : tennis

  bye : free passage into the second round of a tournament. Players may be given a bye if a tournament doesn't have enough players (e.g. if there are only 28 players in a tournament designed for 32, there will be 4 byes in the first round); byes are awarded to seeded players

computing & web

byte : a contiguous sequence of a fixed number of bits, the smallest addressable unit in data processing; commonly used as a unit of storage and memory measurement in computing, regardless of the data type; most often abbreviated as B, including larger quantities of bytes, e.g. MB (megabyte). This is incompatible with SI where B is the symbol of the unit named bel.

An eight-bit byte or octet is by far the most common; it can hold 256 possible values (28 = 256), enough to store an unsigned integer ranging from 0 to 255, a signed integer from -128 to 127, or a character of a seven-bit (such as ASCII) or eight-bit character encoding.






UPDATED : 2007-03-28

WEBSITE  EDITOR : Krešimir J. Adamić