binary

noun
bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē , -ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē \
plural binaries

Definition of binary

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something made of two things or parts specifically
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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of binary in a Sentence

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 year, entertainment was curated and co-produced by Jasmine Agosto, founder of SageSeeker Production, which hosts La Sala Femme — a performance installment by non-binary womxn of color according to the event flier. Ryn identifies as an agender, non-binary, and asexual person. Just in time for June’s LGBTQ Pride month, Lyft has added gender-neutral pronouns to its app for transgender and non-binary identifying riders. Despite historical examples of gender rebels, experiences outside of a cisgender binary have often been erased — sometimes intentionally. Model Oslo Grace, who is transgender and non-binary, stars in the images wearing nothing but Russo’s chic shoes. Perhaps, as McWhorter suggested to me, the entire problem with my question is in thinking about xoxo or any phrase alongside a gender binary. This gallery is a tribute to them: the women and non-binary photographers who hustle behind the camera to bring us the news. 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.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Like the camp aesthetic overall, Sontag’s essay appears to characterize camp as binary and ironic, applying the binaries to class and gender and seemingly ignoring race. Not every character is crucial enough to support the amount of time spent with them, and some of the characters reinforce a black-and-white, good/bad binary that works against the more complex points the series is trying to make. 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. As noted by the Beacon, a 2017 policy announced federal prisons would guarantee free menstrual products to all women, transgender and non-binary people. The grenade’s electronics also allow for the binary filler storage system. Back in those innocent days, the choice was binary: in or out. These stars form two binary pairs, one right in the middle of the system and one orbiting billions of miles away. In the ballet world, where binary gender roles have prevailed onstage and off, the statistics have been especially egregious.

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.

First Known Use of binary

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for binary

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

Keep scrolling for more

Share binary

Resources for binary

Listen to Our Podcast about binary

Statistics for binary

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for binary

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for binary

binary

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

bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē \

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

bi·​na·​ry | \ ˈbī-nə-rē , -ˌner-ē \

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)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on binary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for binary

Spanish Central: Translation of binary

What made you want to look up binary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

gritty

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Words for Summer: A Quiz

• Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words at Play