"Breathing" that's right, that's the word I'm looking for. Obviously a computer doesn't breathe, but what does it do?

By this I mean, a computer, more specifically the system unit or a laptop. On a system unit or a laptop, there are openings that allow hot air that's produced by the heatsink/fan to be blown out of the machine in order to prevent overheating.

The other day I was looking at some Macbooks at the Apple store. Unlike other laptops, the Macbook virtually has no openings on any of its surfaces. So then I went and asked the saleperson on its mechanism in preventing overheating. When asking, it occured to me whether there's an actual word that describes this process/action, a verb that describes the act of sending heated air produced from the heatsink/fans inside the computer out through the openings on the surface of the laptop or system unit by the machine to prevent overheating. In other words, the laptop is not breathing, it's [ ? ]. How does the machine [ ? ].


2 Answers 2


Ventilating or venting, as Cerberus should perhaps have answered, rather than commented.

  • 1
    A human who is unable to breathe may be ventilated as an emergency medical intervention. A room which has poor circulation may be ventilated by introducing additional ducts. In each case, the ventilation is done by an outside active agent. Surely as the object of the procedure the computer is not "ventilating" but being ventilated?
    – Fortiter
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 7:11
  • 1
    @Fortiter: I would say that the cooling is performed by the ventilation system. Moreover, if the ventilation system ventilates, and the ventilation system is part of the computer, then I don't have a problem saying the computer is ventilating.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 9:46
  • I'd just say it's venting. The computer is venting hot air through these holes. Or maybe expelling.
    – barbecue
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 1:04

Exhausting. A PC is exhausting the hot air from inside to remove excess heat from the processor, memory, graphics card, etc.

  • 1
    Yeah, I sometimes find PCs to be quite exhausting.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 19:32
  • Hilarious. Are you available for children's parties?
    – Cory
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 19:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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