dichotomy


dichotomy
dichotomy
means ‘a division into two’ (from Greek dicho- meaning ‘apart’ and -tomos meaning ‘cutting’). The word has long-established meanings in technical domains such as logic, astronomy, and the life sciences; in the 20c it moved into general use to mean ‘a difference or split’ (e.g. a dichotomy of opinion) and often implies a contrast or a paradoxical circumstance:

• By a dichotomy familiar to us all, a woman requires her own baby to be perfectly normal, and at the same time superior to all other babies —John Wyndham, 1957

• The coffee-table featured a couple of Shakespeare texts and a copy of Time Out —an intriguing dichotomy —Martin Amis, 1973.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dichotomy A — Studio album by GRITS Released June 29, 2004 …   Wikipedia

  • Dichotomy B — Studio album by GRITS Released November 2, 2004 …   Wikipedia

  • Dichotomy — Di*chot o*my, n. [Gr. ?, fr. ?: cf. F. dichotomie. See {Dichotomous}.] 1. A cutting in two; a division. [1913 Webster] A general breach or dichotomy with their church. Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] 2. Division or distribution of genera into two… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dichotomy — I noun bifurcation, bipartition, bisection, dissection, divarication, division, halving, separation, severance, split, subdivision II index disassociation, split Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • dichotomy — c.1600, from Gk. dichotomia a cutting in half, from dicha in two, asunder (related to dis twice ) + temnein to cut (see TOME (Cf. tome)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • dichotomy — [n] division difference, difference of opinion, disagreement, disunion, separation, split; concepts 98,135 …   New thesaurus

  • dichotomy — ► NOUN (pl. dichotomies) ▪ a separation or contrast between two things. DERIVATIVES dichotomous adjective. ORIGIN Greek dikhotomia a cutting in two …   English terms dictionary

  • dichotomy — [dī kät′əmē] n. pl. dichotomies [Gr dichotomia: see DICHO & TOMY] 1. division into two parts, groups, or classes, esp. when these are sharply distinguished or opposed 2. Astron. the appearance of the moon or of a planet when half of the surface… …   English World dictionary

  • Dichotomy — An example of a dichotomy is the partition of a scene into figure and ground – the letters are foreground or figure; the rest is the background. A dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non overlapping parts, meaning it is a… …   Wikipedia

  • dichotomy — noun (plural mies) Etymology: Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos Date: 1610 1. a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities < the dichotomy between theory and practice >; also …   New Collegiate Dictionary