Short for Universal Serial Bus, an external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of 12 Mbps. A single USB port can be used to connect up to 127 peripheral devices, such as mice, modems, and keyboards. USB also supports Plug-and-Play installation and hot plugging.
Starting in 1996, a few computer manufacturers started including USB support in their new machines. It wasn't until the release of the best-selling iMac in 1998 that USB became widespread. It is expected to completely replace serial and parallel ports.
Also see USB 2.0.