High-Level Language

A high-level language is a programming language designed to simplify computer programming. It is "high-level" since it is several steps removed from the actual code run on a computer's processor. High-level source code contains easy-to-read syntax that is later converted into a low-level language, which can be recognized and run by a specific CPU.

Most common programming languages are considered high-level languages. Examples include:

  1. C++
  2. C#
  3. Cobol
  4. Fortran
  5. Java
  6. JavaScript
  1. Objective C
  2. Pascal
  3. Perl
  4. PHP
  5. Python
  6. Swift

Each of these languages use different syntax. Some are designed for writing desktop software programs, while others are best-suited for web development. But they all are considered high-level since they must be processed by a compiler or interpreter before the code is executed.

Source code written in languages like C++ and C# must be compiled into machine code in order to run. The compilation process converts the human-readble syntax of the high-level language into low-level code for a specific processor. Source code written in scripting languages like Perl and PHP can be run through an interpreter, which converts the high-level code into a low-level language on-the-fly.

Updated May 12, 2017

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of High-Level Language on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the High-Level Language definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.