I'm looking for the origin of the verb "Blatting" / "Blat", I have only ever heard this word used in the context of complete removal of data from either a database or web form. e.g.

"Lets completely blat the table row and see if our query still runs"


"Blatting the login form causes an exception"

I original thought it was slang specific to the team I am working for however since then I have heard it used by other software engineers both in and outside of the company.

Is this word widely used? Where does it come from? and maybe more importantly what does it actually mean?

  • The book "UNIX for Dummies" uses the words "blat" and "blatting" for copying files from another machine books.google.com/… There is also an email related program called "blat" that many books discuss books.google.com/…
    – DavePhD
    Apr 6, 2017 at 20:41
  • It should be noted that "blat" is the long-standing onomatopoeia for the sound of a trumpet.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 3, 2017 at 3:04

2 Answers 2


Eric Raymond, The New Hacker's Dictionary, third edition (1996) has this entry for blat:

blat n. 1. Syn. blast, sense 1 ["v.,n. Synonym for BLT {'to copy a large array of bits from one part of a computer's memory to another part, particularly when the memory is being used to determine what is shown on a display screen'}, used esp. for large data sends over a network or comm line. Opposite of snarf. Usage: Uncommon. The variant 'blat' has been reported"]. 2. See thud ["Yet another metasyntactic variable (see foo). It is reported that at CMU {Carnegie Mellon University} from the mid-1970s the canonical series of these was 'foo', 'bar', 'thud', 'blat'."].

Whether these meanings have any connection to the particular usage that the poster asks about is dubious. I imagine that any onomatopoeic sounds that suggest either farting or belching are likely to have emerged independently multiple times in the argot of computing. Still, it isn't a very large step from copying/pasting or transferring a large array of bits to deleting them. I've done it myself.

  • 1
    I have only heard BLT pronounced "blit". Blatting specifically refers to the overwriting of data.
    – thepeer
    Aug 6, 2018 at 8:41
  • This is the best I could find. Still not very satisfactory, but if you follow the chain of synonyms you get blat = blast = nuke: hackersdictionary.com/html/entry/blat.html
    – Jimbali
    Jun 19, 2020 at 14:13

I found this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLAT_(bioinformatics) In that instance, BLAT means Blast-like Assignment Tool. I think this is related to what you're asking, but I don't really understand the rest of the article so I'm not totally sure.

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