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An entity is any singular, identifiable and separate object. It refers to individuals, organizations, systems, bits of data or even distinct system components that are considered significant in and of themselves.
The term is used in a number of programming languages/concepts, database management, systems design and other arenas.
An entity's common denominator is that it can be considered a separate whole and possesses a unique set of characteristics.
The following are examples of the use of an entity in different contexts:
General computing: Refers to users, components and organizations
System: Refers to a discrete or separate component
Database system: Refers to individual things, including people, concepts or objects with data that is first stored in a database management system (DBMS) and has attributes and relationships to other entities
Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model): Refers to discrete system components that use different protocols to communicate with each other
Object-oriented programming (OOP): Synonymous with objects.