Skip to main content

wait state

wait state A situation in which one component of a system is unable to proceed until some other component has completed an operation. As a commonly occurring example, the basic operating time of many processors is less than the time needed to read data from the memory subsystem. In general, the processor is unable to proceed further until information that is requested from the memory has been received. To cater for this, when the processor passes the address of the data to be read to the memory controller and requests information to be read from the memory, the processor enters a wait state, performing no operations of any kind, until the memory controller signals that the data is available to the processor. See also zero-wait state.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"wait state." A Dictionary of Computing. . 24 Mar. 2019 <>.

"wait state." A Dictionary of Computing. . (March 24, 2019).

"wait state." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved March 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.