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byte

[bahyt] /baɪt/
noun, Computers.
1.
adjacent bits, usually eight, processed by a computer as a unit.
2.
the combination of bits used to represent a particular letter, number, or special character.
Origin of byte
1959
1959; origin uncertain
Can be confused
bight, bite, byte.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for bytes

byte

/baɪt/
noun (computing)
1.
a group of bits, usually eight, processed as a single unit of data
2.
the storage space in a memory or other storage device that is allocated to such a group of bits
3.
a subdivision of a word
Word Origin
C20: probably a blend of bit4 + bite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bytes

byte

n.

1956, American English; see bit (n.2). Reputedly coined by Dr. Werner Buchholz at IBM.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bytes in Science
byte
  (bīt)   
A sequence of adjacent bits operated on as a unit by a computer. A byte usually consists of eight bits. Amounts of computer memory are often expressed in terms of megabytes (1,048,576 bytes) or gigabytes (1,073,741,824 bytes).

Our Living Language  : The word bit is short for binary digit. A bit consists of one of two values, usually 0 or 1. Computers use bits because their system of counting is based on two options: switches on a microchip that are either on or off. Thus, a computer counts to seven in bits as follows: 0, 1, 10 [2], 11 [3], 100 [4], 101 [5], 110 [6], 111 [7]. Notice that the higher the count, the more adjacent bits are needed to represent the number. For example, it requires two adjacent bits to count from 0 to 3, and it takes three adjacent bits to count from 0 to 7. A sequence of bits can represent not just numbers but other kinds of data, such as the letters and symbols on a keyboard. The sequence of 0s and 1s that make up data are usually counted in groups of 8, and these groups of 8 bits are called bytes. The word byte is short for binary digit eight. To transmit one keystroke on a typical keyboard requires one byte of information (or 8 bits). To transmit a three-letter word requires three bytes of information (or 24 bits).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bytes in Culture
byte [(beyet)]

In computer technology, a unit of information made up of bits (often eight bits). The memory capacity of a typical personal computer runs from millions to billions of bytes.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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