binary was our Word of the Day on 09/22/2015. Hear the podcast!
Definition of binary
1 : compounded or consisting of or marked by two things or parts
2 music a : duple —used of measure or rhythmb : having two musical subjects or two complementary sections a song in binary form
3a mathematics : relating to, being, or belonging to a system of numbers having 2 as its base the binary digits 0 and 1b : involving a choice or condition of two alternatives (such as on-off or yes-no)
4a chemistry : composed of two elements (see element 2e), an element and a radical (see 2radical 4) that acts as an element, or two such radicalsb : utilizing two harmless ingredients that upon combining form a lethal substance (such as a gas) binary weapons
5 : relating two logical or mathematical elements a binary operation
6 : of or relating to the use of stable oppositions (such as good and evil) to analyze a subject or create a structural model the binary opposition of male and female — Joan W. Scott
Examples of binary in a sentence
a binary star is a system of two stars that revolve around each other under their mutual gravitation
Did You Know?
The animals went in two by two, the elephant and the kangaroo. . .. It was a binary parade of sorts that went into Noah's ark "for to get out of the rain" - the critters were represented in pairs. If you recall those partnered beasts, you'll remember the etymology of binary, because it traces to the Latin bini, which translates as "two by two." Although "binary" can be used for anything with two parts, it is now used especially in relation to computers and information processing. Digital computers use the binary number system, which includes only the digits 0 and 1, to process even complex data. In binary form, for instance, the word HELLO looks like this: 1001000 1000101 1001100 1001100 1001111.
Origin and Etymology of binary
Late Latin binarius, from Latin bini two by two — more at bin-
First Known Use: 1597
BINARY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of binary for English Language Learners
: relating to or consisting of two things or parts
: relating to or involving a method of calculating and of representing information especially in computers by using the numbers 0 and 1
BINARY Defined for Kids
Definition of binary for Students
: of, relating to, or being a number system with a base of 2 The two binary digits are 0 and 1.
Medical Definition of binary
1: compounded or consisting of or marked by two things or parts
2a: composed of two chemical elements, an element and a radical that acts as an element, or two such radicalsb: utilizing two harmless ingredients that upon combining form a lethal substance (as a gas)
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up binary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).