dig·i·tal (dĭj'ĭ-tl) pronunciation


  1. Of, relating to, or resembling a digit, especially a finger.

  2. Operated or done with the fingers: a digital switch.

  3. Having digits.

  4. Expressed in numerical form, especially for use by a computer.

  5. Computer Science. Of or relating to a device that can read, write, or store information that is represented in numerical form. See Usage Note at virtual.

  6. Using or giving a reading in digits: a digital clock.

peas·ant (pĕz'ənt) pronunciation


  1. A member of the class constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, and laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture.

  2. A country person; a rustic.

  3. An uncouth, crude, or ill-bred person; a boor.

[Middle English paissaunt, from Old French paisant, from pais, country, from Late Latin pāgēnsis, inhabitant of a district, from Latin pāgus, district.]

A farmer or agricultural worker of low status. The word is applied chiefly to agricultural workers in Asia, Europe, and South America, who generally adhere to traditional agricultural practices and have little social mobility or freedom.


A digital system is one that uses numbers, especially binary numbers, for input, processing, transmission, storage, or display, rather than a continuous spectrum of values (an analog system) or non-numeric symbols such as letters or icons.

The distinction of "digital" versus "analog" or "symbolic" can refer to method of input, data storage and transfer, the internal working of an instrument, and the kind of display. The word comes from the same source as the word digit and digitus: the Latin word for finger (counting on the fingers) as these are used for discrete counting.

The word digital is most commonly used in computing and electronics, especially where real-world information is converted to binary numeric form as in digital audio and digital photography. Such data-carrying signals carry either one of two electronic or optical pulses, logic 1 (pulse present) or 0 (pulse absent). The term is often meant by the prefix "e-", as in e-mail and ebook, even though not all electronics systems are digital.

Digital noise

When data are transmitted using analog methods, a certain amount of noise enters into the signal. This can have myriad causes: data transmitted by radio may be received badly, suffer interference from other radio sources, or pick up background radio noise from the rest of the universe. Electric pulses being sent down wires are attenuated by the resistance of the wire, and dispersed by its capacitance, and heat variations can increase or reduce these effects. While digital transmissions are also degraded, any slight variations can be safely ignored. With an analog signal, any variance can provide a great amount of distortion. In a digital signal, these variances can be overcome, as any signal close to a particular value will be interpreted as that value. Care must be taken when connecting digital and analog systems; tolerable variances for the digital part can leak into the analog part and become intolerable.

Analog, symbolic, and digital displays; ease of reading

For human readable information, digital, analog, and symbol display methods can all be useful. Should an instant impression be required, analog meters and indicator lights often give information quickly. Many people glance quickly at their analog watch and know roughly what the time is or at an automobile dashboard and know that a door is ajar. When accuracy is required, however, digital displays are preferred. Reading analog meters requires time and a little bit of skill, whereas writing down the value on a digital display is merely a case of copying down the numbers. In cases where both accuracy and quick reckoning are both required, dual displays are often used.

A needle (analog) just touching onto the bottom of an orange shaded area is much different from a needle almost touching into the red area, but an indicator lamp (symbol) would just glow orange and a numeric (digital) display, although it could be colored orange, would not indicate the relative level of danger to an untrained operator.

Analog to digital conversion

Main article: Analog-to-digital converter

Converting an analog source to digital data is done with two steps: sampling, which changes the source to a series of discrete values (called samples), and quantization, which converts each sample to a number. For example, the sensor of a digital camera contains millions of sensing elements (one for each pixel). When an exposure is made, the light focused on the array is converted into millions of electric charges (sampled). These charges are then amplified and converted to numbers (quantized). The resulting digital image is then processed and stored in the camera's memory card. The samples in this case are spatial. In contrast, converting an audio source to digital requires temporal samples: it is converted to an electrical signal using a microphone, and the voltage of this signal is sampled thousands of times per second (the sampling frequency). Each sample is then quantized to form the digital audio data.

Both sampling and quantization will result in a loss of data. Changes in the original data that occur between the samples will not appear in the digital data (or worse, will cause aliasing, the appearance of data not present in the original source). And while a voltage can be any of a seemingly unlimited number of values between its minimum and maximum (limited only by quantum mechanics), a digital representation using n bits can have only 2n possible values. While this information will be preserved in future transmission, the data has been lost.

The amount of information that can be stored in a digital representation is called its resolution. And since the conversion to digital is a two step process, there are two types of resolution: sampling resolution and quantization resolution. Sampling resolution can be either spatial (expressed in pixels per inch) or temporal (expressed as samples per second) or both (for example, a video). Quantization resolution is usually expressed as the number of bits used to represent each sample and is thus often called the bit depth or (for pictures) the color depth.

The best resolution for a given set of digital data depends on the processing it will undergo and its ultimate purpose. For example, compact discs use a sampling resolution of 44,100 samples/second, which is sufficient for audio in the range of human hearing. Most digital photographs use a bit depth of 8 bits/color, which produces more colors than the human eye can discern. However many photographers use camera raw with 12 bits/color to allow for more accuracy during processing before producing a final photograph at 8 bits/color for display or printing. Scientific photography may also require greater bit depth.

If sufficient resolution is used, the data loss caused by the conversion to digital is offset by the accuracy of digital processing. When analog signals are transmitted and stored, accuracy is lost due to noise and distortion. So neither digital nor analog offer perfect fidelity; resolution is sacrificed for accuracy with digital and vice versa for analog. When both high resolution and high accuracy are needed, either a high resolution digital system or a high accuracy analog system must be used (with a correspondingly high cost).

Symbol to digital conversion

Since symbols are not continuous, converting symbols to digital is simpler and less prone to data loss than analog to digital conversion. Instead of sampling and quantization, similar steps are used: polling and encoding.

A symbol input device usually consists of a number of switches that are polled at regular intervals to see which switches are pressed. Data will be lost if, within a single polling interval, two switches are pressed, or a switch is pressed, released, and pressed again. This polling can be done by a specialized processor in the device to prevent burdening the main CPU. When a new symbol has been entered, the device sends an interrupt to alert the CPU to read it.

For devices with just a few switches (such as the buttons on a joystick), the status of each can be encoded as bits (usually 0 for released and 1 for pressed) in a single word. This is very useful when combinations of key presses are meaningful, and is sometimes used for passing the status of modifier keys on a keyboard (such as shift and control). But it does not scale to support more keys than the number of bits in a single byte or word.

Devices with many switches (such as a computer keyboard) usually arrange these switches in a scan matrix, with the individual switches on the intersections of x and y lines. When a switch is pressed, it connects the corresponding x and y lines together. Polling (often called scanning in this case) is done by activating each x line in sequence and detecting which y lines then have a signal, thus which keys are pressed. When the keyboard processor detects that a key has changed state, it sends a signal to the CPU indicating the scan code of the key and its new state. The symbol is then encoded, or converted into a number, based on the status of modifier keys and the desired character encoding.

Using a custom encoding for a specific application can be done with no loss of data. However, using a standard encoding such as ASCII is problematic if a symbol such as 'ß' needs to be converted but is not in the standard.

Historical digital systems

Although digital signals are generally associated with the binary electronic digital systems used in modern electronics and computing, digital systems are actually ancient, and need not be binary nor electronic.

  • A beacon is perhaps the simplest non-electronic digital signal, with just two states (on and off). In particular, smoke signals are one of the oldest examples of a digital signal, where an analog "carrier" (smoke) is modulated with a blanket to generate a digital signal (puffs) that conveys information.

  • DNA comprises a long sequence of four digits (denoted A, C, G, and T), effectively a base-four numeral system. (In fact, in the double helix structure, there are two strands, but one of them is never read.) Each of these digits is an organic molecule, known as a nucleotide. DNA is the major system of information transfer from one generation to another, and evolution

    has developed its digital properties into a robust method of communication.
  • Morse code uses five digital states—dot, dash, short gap (between each letter), medium gap (between words), and long gap (between sentences)—to send messages via a variety of potential carriers such as electricity or light, for example using an electrical telegraph or a flashing light.

  • Semaphore signalling uses rods or flags held in particular positions to send messages to the receiver watching them some distance away.

  • More recently invented, a modem modulates an analog "carrier" signal (such as sound) to encode binary electrical digital information, as a series of binary digital sound pulses. A slightly earlier, surprisingly reliable version of the same concept was to bundle a sequence of audio digital "signal" and "no signal" information (i.e. "sound" and "silence") on magnetic cassette tape for use with early home computers.

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In a detail of Brueghel's Land of Cockaigne (1567) a soft-boiled egg has little feet to rush to the luxuriating peasant who catches drops of honey on his tongue, while roast pigs roam wild: the 16th century was a good time for European peasants


In a detail of Brueghel's Land of Cockaigne (1567) a soft-boiled egg has little feet to rush to the luxuriating peasant who catches drops of honey on his tongue, while roast pigs roam wild: the 16th century was a good time for European peasants

A peasant, from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, the countryside or region, (from Latin pagus, country district) is an agricultural worker with roots in the countryside in which he or she dwells, either working for others or, more specifically, owning or renting and working by his or her own labour a small plot of ground, in England a "cottager". Peasants exist in a world before the modern division of labor: a peasant must be a jack-of-all trades, handy at everything. Peasants depend on the cultivation of their land; without stockpiles of provision they thrive or starve according to the most recent harvest (illustration, above right). Peasants live to agricultural time; the "world-time", in Fernand Braudel's term, of politics and economics does not directly affect the peasant. Peasants typically make up the majority of the agricultural labour force in a pre-industrial society.

Though a word of not very strict application, once a market economy has taken universal root, it is now frequently used of the traditionalist rural population in countries where the land is chiefly held by smallholders, peasant proprietors.

In the great majority of pre-industrial societies, peasants constitute the bulk of the population, the authentic "silent majority". A rural peasant population differs enormously in its values and economic behavior from an urban worker population. Peasants tend to be more conservative than urbanites, and are often very loyal to inherited power structures that define their rights and privileges and protect them from interlopers, despite their generally low status within them.

Peasant societies generally have very well developed social support networks. Especially in harder climates, members of the community who have a poor harvest or suffer some form of hardship will be taken care of by the rest of the community. Loyalties and vengeance both run very deep. Peasant communities are extremely tight, and are often difficult to access or understand by outsiders.

Peasant societies can often have very stratified social hierarchies within them.

Sedentary Occupations of the Peasauts.--Facsimile from an Engraving on Wood, attributed to Holbein, in the "Cosmographie" of Munster (Basle, 1552, folio).


Sedentary Occupations of the Peasauts.--Facsimile from an Engraving on Wood, attributed to Holbein, in the "Cosmographie" of Munster (Basle, 1552, folio).

In a barter economy, peasants characteristically have a different attitude to work than peasants— or towndwellers— in a money economy would. Most of them are content to live at a subsistence level and will not expend unnecessary labour raising their standard of living. Traditionally many non-peasants have viewed this as laziness. However, it does make sense from their perspective, since there would rarely be any point in producing more than could be consumed.

Fernand Braudel devoted the first volume of his major work, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century to the largely silent and invisible world that existed below the market economy, in The Structures of Everyday Life.

Costume of a Vilain or Peasant, Fifteenth Century, from a 15th-century miniature of the "Danse Macabre," Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, Ms 7310


Costume of a Vilain or Peasant, Fifteenth Century, from a 15th-century miniature of the "Danse Macabre," Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, Ms 7310

Since the literate classes who left the most record tended to dismiss the peasants as figures of coarse appetite and rustic comedy, "peasant" may have a pejorative rather than descriptive connotation in historical memory. However, it was not always that way; peasants were once viewed as pious and seen with respect and pride. Life was hard for peasants, but before technology and a money economy created a chasm between rich and poor, life was hard for everyone. Society was theorized as organized in three "estates": those who work, those who pray and those who fight. Those who theorized did so for those whose recent ancestors did little but fight, ecclesiastics and nobles who increasingly lived more private lives. A new consciousness of inalienable rights and new, unjust impositions from above contributed to the popular (or peasant) uprisings of the 14th century, the breakdown of the feudal system and the rise of modernity. Once a money economy had intruded on the old agricultural order, the peasant was slowly transformed into the laborer for wages, or he might hold a precarious position as an independent smallholder, one of the "yeomen" of sentimental history.

In some countries in central and eastern Europe where a barter economy obtained in self-sufficient societies, reintroduced serfdom continued up to the 19th century in places, and in some third world countries the term is still broadly applicable today.

Peasant Sayings

  • "Arbeit macht frei" German peasant saying that means "Work makes free" literally, but conveys the meaning "Labor/Work liberates."

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Translations for: Digital

Nederlands (Dutch)
digitaal (in cijfers)

Français (French)
digital, numérique, à affichage numérique, touche (du piano)

Deutsch (German)
adj. - digital
n. - Taste

Ελληνική (Greek)
adj. ψηφιακός n. δάκτυλο(ς), (μουσ.) πλήκτρο

Italiano (Italian)

Português (Portuguese)
adj. - digital
n. - tecla (f) (de instrumento)

Русский (Russian)

Español (Spanish)
adj. - digital, que usa dígitos
n. - dígito, formato digital

Svenska (Swedish)
adj. - digital
n. - digital-

中国话 (Simplified Chinese)
adj. - 数字的
n. - 数字, 数字式

中國話 (Traditional Chinese)
adj. - 數位的
n. - 數位, 數位式

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - 指, 鍵, デジタル
adj. - 指の, 指のある, 数字で表示する, 数字で計算する

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(صفه) رقمي, إصبعي ( ذو علاقه بأصابع اليد أو القدم) (الاسم) إصبع أو مفتاح في الأرغن ( يضغط عليه بإصبع اليد لإصدار نغم)‏

עברית (Hebrew)‬
adj. - ‮ספרתי, דיגיטלי, של אצבע‬
n. - ‮מקש, קליד‬

Translations for: Peasant

Nederlands (Dutch)
boer, lomperd

Français (French)

Deutsch (German)
n. - Bauer, Landarbeiter
adj. - Bauern-, bäurisch

Ελληνική (Greek)
n. χωρικός, χωριάτης, αγρότης adj. χωριάτικος, χωριάτης

Italiano (Italian)

Português (Portuguese)
n. - camponês (m), lavrador (m)
adj. - rural

Русский (Russian)

Español (Spanish)
n. - campesino, labrador, labriego
adj. - campesino, labrador

Svenska (Swedish)
n. - bonde, jordbrukare, lantis, bondtölp
adj. - allmoge-

中国话 (Simplified Chinese)
n. - 农夫, 乡下人

中國話 (Traditional Chinese)
n. - 農夫, 鄉下人

日本語 (Japanese)
n. - 農夫, 小作農, 田舎者

العربيه (Arabic)
‏(الاسم) قروي, فلاح (صفه) فلاحي, ريفي خلوي‏

עברית (Hebrew)‬
n. - ‮איכר, בור, גס‬