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Definition: a program that automatically blanks the screen of a computer, or displays a moving picture, when the computer has not been used for several minutes. The original purpose of screen savers was to prevent “burn-in” (i.e., to keep the screen coating from wearing out in places where bright parts of the image were constantly displayed). Modern screens are less vulnerable to burn-in, and today, screen savers serve mainly to protect the privacy of users who are away from their desks, and to save energy when used in conjunction with monitors that turn themselves off when the screen goes blank. Screen savers also provide entertainment.
Source: Downing, Douglas, et al. Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms. 10th ed. New York, 2009. Print.