binary

noun
bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē How to pronounce binary (audio) , -ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē How to pronounce binary (audio) \
plural binaries

Definition of binary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something made of two things or parts specifically : binary star
2 mathematics : a number system based only on the numerals 0 and 1 : a binary (see binary entry 2 sense 3a) number system 42 is written as 101010 in binary.
3 : a division into two groups or classes that are considered diametrically opposite … human sexuality is more complicated than the simple binary of "homosexuals" and "heterosexuals."Ms

binary

adjective

Definition of binary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : compounded or consisting of or marked by two things or parts

2 music

a : duple used of measure or rhythm
b : 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 1
b : involving a choice or condition of two alternatives (such as on-off or yes-no)
4a chemistry : composed of two elements (see element sense 2e), an element and a radical (see radical entry 2 sense 4) that acts as an element, or two such radicals
b : 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for binary

Synonyms: Adjective

bipartite, double, double-barreled, double-edged, dual, duplex, twin, twofold

Antonyms: Adjective

single

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Did You Know?

Adjective

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.

Examples of binary in a Sentence

Adjective

a binary star is a system of two stars that revolve around each other under their mutual gravitation

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Perhaps, as McWhorter suggested to me, the entire problem with my question is in thinking about xoxo or any phrase alongside a gender binary. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "“XOXO”: What Does Your Email Sign-Off Say About You?," 20 Sep. 2018 This gallery is a tribute to them: the women and non-binary photographers who hustle behind the camera to bring us the news. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "2018, explained in pictures by women and non-binary photographers," 21 Dec. 2018 The Flutter platform handles communication with each OS and can spit out Android and iOS binaries with native-looking widgets and scrolling behavior if desired. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google bridges Android and iOS development with Flutter 1.0," 4 Dec. 2018 And how does that really include people who are gender non-binary and trans folks? Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Laverne Cox and Rosario Dawson Go Deep on Intersectional Feminism," 8 Oct. 2018 Instead of a binary yes-no vote, Brexit negotiations present myriad possibilities. Avantika Chilkoti, WSJ, "What Betting Markets Have to Say About Brexit," 24 Dec. 2018 Our humanity won’t be dictated by extreme religious and ideological false ideas of gender and binaries. Sage Grace Dolan-sandrino, Teen Vogue, "I'm a Trans Student, and the Trump Administration Memo Won't Erase Me," 23 Oct. 2018 Signal-Boost Helpful Resources GLAAD has created a fantastic list of resources for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people in crisis. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 Applebaum acknowledged the trickiness and haziness of assigning moral attributes to extremely abstract artistic modes, but the more pressing concern for his argument might be its reliance on a clear binary between newness and oldness. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Generosity of Innovation," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Defining identity on a spectrum rather than along binary lines is a paradigm shift that goes hand in hand with new modes of self presentation. Vogue, "A New Exhibition in Boston on Gender-Bending Fashion Is Also About Youthquakes, New and Old," 20 Mar. 2019 As noted by the Beacon, a 2017 policy announced federal prisons would guarantee free menstrual products to all women, transgender and non-binary people. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Maine Politician Said Ensuring Free Pads and Tampons Would Make Jails Like a "Country Club"," 19 Mar. 2019 The grenade’s electronics also allow for the binary filler storage system. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Rectangular, Computerized Grenade Puts a New Spin on the Flashbang," 28 Feb. 2019 Back in those innocent days, the choice was binary: in or out. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Great Brexit Breakdown," 7 Dec. 2018 These stars form two binary pairs, one right in the middle of the system and one orbiting billions of miles away. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Astronomers Discover Bizarre Quadruple Star System," 15 Jan. 2019 In the ballet world, where binary gender roles have prevailed onstage and off, the statistics have been especially egregious. Amy Fine Collins, Marie Claire, "Female Choreographers Take Center Stage at American Ballet Theater," 10 Oct. 2018 Lachlan is a non-binary actor who plays Sabrina's other best friend, Susie. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Meet the Cast of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and Their Characters," 17 Sep. 2018 Jack Qu’emi, a non-binary person of color, told Teen Vogue. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "What Trying to Access Health Care is Like for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People," 24 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'binary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of binary

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for binary

Adjective and Noun

Late Latin binarius, from Latin bini two by two — more at bin-

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Statistics for binary

Last Updated

2 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for binary

The first known use of binary was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for binary

binary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of binary

technical
: 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

adjective
bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē How to pronounce binary (audio) \

Kids Definition of binary

: of, relating to, or being a number system with a base of 2 The two binary digits are 0 and 1.

binary

adjective
bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē How to pronounce binary (audio) , -ˌner-ē How to pronounce binary (audio) \

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 radicals
b : utilizing two harmless ingredients that upon combining form a lethal substance (as a gas)

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More from Merriam-Webster on binary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for binary

Spanish Central: Translation of binary

Nglish: Translation of binary for Spanish Speakers

Comments on binary

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