glitch /glich/ [from German `glitschig' to slip, via
Yiddish `glitshen', to slide or skid] 1. /n./ A sudden interruption
in electric service, sanity, continuity, or program function.
Sometimes recoverable. An interruption in electric service is
specifically called a `power glitch' (also power hit), of
grave concern because it usually crashes all the computers. In
jargon, though, a hacker who got to the middle of a sentence and
then forgot how he or she intended to complete it might say,
"Sorry, I just glitched". 2. /vi./ To commit a glitch. See
gritch. 3. /vt./ [Stanford] To scroll a display screen, esp.
several lines at a time. WAITS terminals used to do this in
order to avoid continuous scrolling, which is distracting to the
eye. 4. obs. Same as magic cookie, sense 2.
All these uses of `glitch' derive from the specific technical
meaning the term has in the electronic hardware world, where it is
now techspeak. A glitch can occur when the inputs of a circuit
change, and the outputs change to some random value for some
very brief time before they settle down to the correct value. If
another circuit inspects the output at just the wrong time, reading
the random value, the results can be very wrong and very hard to
debug (a glitch is one of many causes of electronic heisenbugs).
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