<computer hardware> Additional hardware to perform some function faster than is possible in software running on the normal CPU. Examples include graphics accelerators and floating-point accelerators.

(01 Mar 1994)

1. Anything that increases rapidity of action or function.

2. In physiology, a nerve, muscle, or substance that quickens movement or response.

3. A catalytic agent used to hasten a chemical reaction.

4. In nuclear physics, a device that accelerates charged particles (e.g., protons) to high speed in order to produce nuclear reactions in a target, often for the production of radionuclides or for radiation therapy.

Synonyms: accelerant.

Origin: L. Accelerans, pres. P. Of ac-celero, to hasten, fr. Celer, swift

(05 Mar 2000)