7.103 .word expressions

This directive expects zero or more expressions , of any section, separated by commas.

The size of the number emitted, and its byte order, depend on what target computer the assembly is for.

Warning: Special Treatment to support Compilers

Machines with a 32-bit address space, but that do less than 32-bit addressing, require the following special treatment. If the machine of interest to you does 32-bit addressing (or doesn't require it; see Machine Dependencies ), you can ignore this issue.

In order to assemble compiler output into something that works, as occasionally does strange things to ‘ .word ’ directives. Directives of the form ‘ .word sym1-sym2 ’ are often emitted by compilers as part of jump tables. Therefore, when as assembles a directive of the form ‘ .word sym1-sym2 ’, and the difference between sym1 and sym2 does not fit in 16 bits, as creates a secondary jump table , immediately before the next label. This secondary jump table is preceded by a short-jump to the first byte after the secondary table. This short-jump prevents the flow of control from accidentally falling into the new table. Inside the table is a long-jump to sym2 . The original ‘ .word ’ contains sym1 minus the address of the long-jump to sym2 .

If there were several occurrences of ‘ .word sym1-sym2 ’ before the secondary jump table, all of them are adjusted. If there was a ‘ .word sym3-sym4 ’, that also did not fit in sixteen bits, a long-jump to sym4 is included in the secondary jump table, and the .word directives are adjusted to contain sym3 minus the address of the long-jump to sym4 ; and so on, for as many entries in the original jump table as necessary.