The word computer entered English in 1646 meaning ‘a person who computes’. Academics borrowed it from Latin computare (com- ‘together, with’ + putare ‘to consider, count, reckon’). So a computer was a person who calculates or counts. It was not until 1897 that the word also meant ‘a machine used to calculate’. The modern meaning ‘an electronic machine’ was born in 1946 (or 1941, depending on what is regarded as an effective ‘electronic machine’). The first computers were used for calculation, but now they affect the way people around the world work and communicate.