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In microprocessors, handshake signals are issued by a microprocessor in acknowledgement of a request by another device.

This process has been repeatedly referred to as 'handshaking' in my lectures.

Is it a commonly used term in general English?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, user49727, p.s.w.g, Kris, MετάEd Oct 1 '13 at 4:55

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

As always in such cases, I have to ask for clarification: what is an illegitimate word? Obviously you see the word is being used, you understand that it has a clear meaning, that meaning is known to you, and you can explain it to others. So, what is your question exactly? Please clarify. "Legitimate word" is not a term. We can only tell if a word is legitimate if you define "legitimate" first. – RegDwigнt Sep 22 '13 at 12:09

I was about to brand this question 'General Reference', but the verb 'handshake' hasn't yet been recognised by say AHD and Collins.

At http://www.dicts.info/define.php?word=handshaking is found:



grasping and shaking a person's hand (as to acknowledge an introduction or to agree on a contract) handshake shake handshaking handclasp
WordNet Lexical Database v3.0, © 2006 Princeton University

handshaking in English Wiktionary

(verb) (present participle of/handshake#Verb/handshake) (noun)

A greeting by clasping hands.

(noun) (computers)

A step in a protocol in which information is exchanged between computing processor devices; often as part of the initiation process for communications.

Wiktionary, GNU Free Documentation Licence

Though some major dictionaries haven't yet caught up with the usage you mention, I wouldn't worry at all about the word's being used in computing. The usual 'rules' for morphology are being observed, and 'handshaking' is non-confusing, very handy to use, and cleverly appropriated from its original sense.

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The entry for the noun handshake in the OED (Third Edition, June 2013) has as its third definition:

Computing. An exchange of standardized signals between communicating devices in a network or bus, used to regulate the transfer of data between them, typically to control the start or end of a transmission; a signal used for this purpose.

The entry for the verb gives only the traditional sense, but there’s no reason why the verbal use shouldn’t be extended to computing if it’s helpful to do so.

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Is the verb, to handshake, commonly used in every day English? No, not really.

When heartily agreeing with someone, I wouldn't say:

I'd like to handshake (with?) you, if I may.

Instead I would and have said many a time,

I'd like to shake your hand, if I may.

When making a deal, or coming to a conclusion to a lengthy debate it is quite common to say:

Let's shake hands on it.

Does this mean no one will understand if you were to use handshake as a verb starting from today? I don't think so, the meaning is pretty straightforward, no room for misinterpretation. There are worse slang-type of expressions IMO; handshaking might well become increasingly popular in the very near future.

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Handshake is a noun, but, whilst I'm no grammarian, it sounds okay to me to use it as a verb. This happens extensively with other nouns, so why not with this one?

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There is not a single word in the English language that cannot be verbed. – GEdgar Sep 22 '13 at 13:17

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