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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (4)

1. someone who plays golf poorly;

2. a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism;
[syn: hacker, cyber-terrorist, cyberpunk]

3. a programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm;
- Example: "true hackers subscribe to a code of ethics and look down upon crackers"

4. one who works hard at boring tasks;
[syn: hack, drudge, hacker]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

hacker \hack"er\ (h[a^]k"[~e]r), n. One who, or that which, hacks. Specifically: A cutting instrument for making notches; esp., one used for notching pine trees in collecting turpentine; a hack. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

hacker n 1: someone who plays golf poorly 2: a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber- terrorism [syn: hacker, cyber-terrorist, cyberpunk] 3: a programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm; "true hackers subscribe to a code of ethics and look down upon crackers" 4: one who works hard at boring tasks [syn: hack, drudge, hacker]
The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003):

hacker n. [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. RFC1392, the Internet Users' Glossary, usefully amplifies this as: A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in ?a Unix hacker?. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence password hacker, network hacker. The correct term for this sense is cracker. The term ?hacker? also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see the network. For discussion of some of the basics of this culture, see the How To Become A Hacker FAQ. It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see hacker ethic). It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled bogus). See also geek, wannabee. This term seems to have been first adopted as a badge in the 1960s by the hacker culture surrounding TMRC and the MIT AI Lab. We have a report that it was used in a sense close to this entry's by teenage radio hams and electronics tinkerers in the mid-1950s.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015):

hacker (Originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe) 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in "a Unix hacker". (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker. The term "hacker" also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see The Network and Internet address). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic. It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. Thus while it is gratifying to be called a hacker, false claimants to the title are quickly labelled as "bogus" or a "wannabee". 9. (University of Maryland, rare) A programmer who does not understand proper programming techniques and principles and doesn't have a Computer Science degree. Someone who just bangs on the keyboard until something happens. For example, "This program is nothing but spaghetti code. It must have been written by a hacker". [Jargon File] (1996-08-26)