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

This preference for gameshow binaries continued with a discussion about whether the U.S. should ever use a nuclear weapon first. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Let’s Get Into a Fight About Foreign Policy," 1 Aug. 2019 Streshinsky says it’s Gluck’s 18th-century score, with a difference – the cast and creative team are made up of women and non-binary artists, including Nikola Printz in the role of Orfeo. Georgia Rowe, The Mercury News, "West Edge Opera stages ‘Breaking the Waves’ to open summer season," 29 July 2019 While some brands and stores have popped up with a focus on gender-neutral or gender-fluid clothing, these options are often expensive, said Stratton, who identifies as non-binary and transmasculine. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "Sew Queer class in D.C. is all about breaking gender rules for clothing," 23 July 2019 The movie, for all its charms, stuck to good-evil binaries. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Snowpiercer Trains an Eye on TV—and Its Genre DNA Runs Deep," 21 July 2019 The national news media, largely based in the North, was complicit in perpetuating this regional binary. Jeanne Theoharis, The Denver Post, "Commentary: How school desegregation became the third rail of Democratic politics," 12 July 2019 My choice to identify as non-binary is used to constantly disrupt gender constructs and gender norms. Essence, "Indya Moore Makes History At Essence Festival 2019," 7 July 2019 That figure rises to 32% for transgender people and those who don’t identify as either male or female (non-binary). Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Discrimination Drives LGBT+ Scientists to Think About Quitting," 29 June 2019 More trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people are featured this year in ads, compared to previous years, Ferraro said. Frances Yue, USA TODAY, "Corporate America gets on the Pride parade, and it's appreciated, but also complicated," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The answer is complicated, but basically binary: there is a lot that private companies can do to censor speech but much less that the government can do. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "The El Paso Shooting and the Virality of Evil," 4 Aug. 2019 The binary options market largely operates outside the U.S. through unregulated websites. Michael Kunzelman, baltimoresun.com, "Federal jury in Maryland gets case against Israeli company executive accused of duping investors," 2 Aug. 2019 The binary options market largely operates outside the U.S. through unregulated websites. Washington Post, "Jury gets case against woman accused of duping investors," 1 Aug. 2019 As the playwright intended, an all female, non-binary cast performs the all-male roles — a device that ineffably but undeniably deepens our connection to what might otherwise have been a standard recapitulation of historical events. Los Angeles Times, "SoCal theater, July 28-Aug. 4: ‘Ragtime,’ ‘Pericles’ and more," 26 July 2019 De Cadenet's Spotify exclusive podcast features conversations with women and non-binary individuals every Tuesday. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Amber Heard Opened Up About Revenge Porn & The Limits Hollywood Puts On Women," 15 July 2019 As the playwright intended, an all female, non-binary cast performs the all-male roles — a device that ineffably but undeniably deepens our connection to what might otherwise have been a standard recapitulation of historical events. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "SoCal theater, July 14-21: Musical parodies of ‘Friends’ and ‘Lost’ and more," 12 July 2019 But even that bit of binary legerdemain involved a relative unknown and took seven days to pull off. Jack Mccallum, SI.com, "A Clippers Summer: How L.A.’s ‘Other’ Team Stole the NBA Offseason," 9 July 2019 Two of these astronomers, Nicola Tamanini and Camilla Danielski, are now suggesting that LISA could be used to identify a very strange class of planets: heavy planets orbiting binary pairs of white dwarf stars. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Space-based gravitational-wave detector may detect strange exoplanets," 9 July 2019

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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Last Updated

6 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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