CPU - Word


A word is a fixed-sized piece of data processed as a unit by the processor. The word size is defined in the instruction set architecture.

The term word is used for a small group of bits that are handled simultaneously by processor of a particular architecture.

A word is stored in memory one byte at a time.

The following component in a computer have generally the size of word:



It determines the unit of processing of the whole computer. ie for:

Byte order

When a word is greater than one byte and therefore needs to be split in order to be stored in memory, the part are stored in a order called endianess. Words may be represented in big-endian or little-endian format. Memory - Byte Order - (Endian-ness) of a Word

Example of 32 bits long word


A 32 bits register is called a fullword.

Data Type

integer max size is on some computer define by the size of a word.

This limitation may cause programs to crash. For example, if a programmer using the C language incorrectly declares as int a variable that will be used to store values greater than <math>2^{15}−1</math> , the program will fail on computers with 16-bit integers. That variable should have been declared as long, which has at least 32 bits on any computer.

Documentation / Reference

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