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Definition: HDL

(Hardware Description Language) A language used to describe the functions of an electronic circuit for documentation, simulation or logic synthesis (or all three). Although many proprietary HDLs have been developed, Verilog and VHDL are the major standards. The first book to provide side-by-side examples of subsets of both languages that could be simulated and synthesized was "HDL Chip Design" by Douglas J. Smith, published by Doone Publications, 1996. See Verilog and VHDL.

HDL Languages
VHDL and Verilog are the most popular HDLs. These examples show a circuit described in RTL in both languages and the resulting schematic of the gate level netlist created after synthesis (below). (Language and schematic examples from "HDL Chip Design" courtesy of Douglas J. Smith.)