Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Static is, generally, used in everyday speech as shorthand for static electricity. In the context of consumer electronics, static is a synonym for white noise. An entirely different meaning of static, used in literature, etc., is to mean "not changing"; as in the term "static character", or, a character who does not significantly change over the course of the work.

Inaddition to these meanings, in mechanics, static implies a system that does not possess a deterministic processes or changing variable values, but is a well-defined sytem which only involves the current values. This type of system is the opposite of dynamic systems.

In computer science/computer engineering, the word static has many unrelated definitions, which may be confusing for novices. Some of the more common uses of the word are:

  1. In object-oriented programming, static refers to a property of an object which belongs to the object's class and not the object itself. This term is not used universally among object-oriented programmers, but is consistent with its use in popular object-oriented programming languages C++ and Java.
  2. In reference to data, static means unchanging.
  3. In the context of programming languages, static typing is a particular way the syntax of the language associates identifiers with data, in particular the type of the data.
  4. In reference to linking, static means that identifiers are associated with data or sections of code during linking, as opposed to dynamic linking in which these associations may be formed at runtime.
  5. In networking, static means fixed, especially fixed with respect to a particular piece of hardware.
  6. In reference to RAM, static refers to details of the underlying electronics and should not be confused with static data as the terms are unrelated. See static RAM.

The term static should be used with care when the context is not clear.

See also

Physics Computers Other