Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
"dual," mid-15c., from Late Latin binarius "consisting of two," from bini "twofold, two apiece, two-by-two" (used especially of matched things), from bis "double" (see bis-). Binary code in computer terminology was in use by 1952, though the idea itself is ancient. Binary star in astronomy is from 1802.
binary bi·na·ry (bī'nə-rē)
Characterized by or consisting of two parts or components; twofold.
Consisting of or containing only molecules having two kinds of atoms.
Anything composed of two parts. In modern computers, information is stored in banks of components that act like switches. Since switches can be either on or off, they have a binary character, and we say that the computer uses “binary arithmetic” to do its work.