Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the meaning of "idiot-proof", as in:

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by Andrew Leach, waiwai933 Jan 25 '13 at 9:26

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiot_proof –  Kris Jan 25 '13 at 9:14
Look up the adjective proof. I think this is General Reference. –  Andrew Leach Jan 25 '13 at 9:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It describes programs that anyone can operate and that no one can damage, not even idiots.

share|improve this answer

It means programs that are so easy to use that even an idiot (someone with a very, very low IQ, maybe < 30) cannot use it incorrectly. This, of course, is contrary to Murphy's Law, so it'll never happen, which is what "So far, the Universe is winning" means.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.