noun \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē also də-\

: a difference between two opposite things : a division into two opposite groups

plural di·chot·o·mies

Full Definition of DICHOTOMY

:  a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities <the dichotomy between theory and practice>; also :  the process or practice of making such a division <dichotomy of the population into two opposed classes>
:  the phase of the moon or an inferior planet in which half its disk appears illuminated
a :  bifurcation; especially :  repeated bifurcation (as of a plant's stem)
b :  a system of branching in which the main axis forks repeatedly into two branches
c :  branching of an ancestral line into two equal diverging branches
:  something with seemingly contradictory qualities <it's a dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a boat harbor — Jean T. Barrett>

Examples of DICHOTOMY

  1. Her essay discusses the dichotomy between good and evil in the author's novels.
  2. <her outfit is a sartorial dichotomy: an elegant gown and ratty old tennis shoes>
  3. The amusing spectacle of the recent presidential vote in Florida should remind us of the persistence of the federal-state dichotomy. —Eugene Genovese, Atlantic, March 2001


Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos (see dichotomous)
First Known Use: 1610

Other Biology Terms

autochthonous, fecund, homunculus, phylogeny, substrate

Rhymes with DICHOTOMY


noun \dī-ˈkät-ə-mē also də-\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural di·chot·o·mies

Medical Definition of DICHOTOMY

: a division or forking into branches; especially : repeated bifurcation


Next Word in the Dictionary: dichotriaene
Previous Word in the Dictionary: dichotomous key
All Words Near: dichotomy

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