9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dahy-kot-uh-mee] /daɪˈkɒt ə mi/
noun, plural dichotomies.
division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups:
a dichotomy between thought and action.
Botany. a mode of branching by constant forking, as in some stems, in veins of leaves, etc.
Astronomy. the phase of the moon or of an inferior planet when half of its disk is visible.
Origin of dichotomy
1600-10; < Greek dichotomía. See dicho-, -tomy
Related forms
[dahy-kuh-tom-ik] /ˌdaɪ kəˈtɒm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
dichotomically, adverb
subdichotomy, noun, plural subdichotomies. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dichotomy
  • The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one.
  • This dichotomy will not end until mankind frees itself from the bondage of fragmented allegiance.
  • In regard to your larger point, you are positing a false dichotomy.
  • The dichotomy in their backgrounds made for instant friendship.
  • Yet in the questing mind of the man himself there is no dichotomy, nor are his political activities a mere overspill of energy.
  • There is a dichotomy to her language.
  • Either it all works, or none of it works; anything else is a false dichotomy.
  • This either/or dichotomy is a phony one, since there are other options.
  • Faced with this dichotomy, investors who buy both Treasury bonds and gold are not displaying cognitive dissonance.
  • That's a false dichotomy…they can both be good candidates.
British Dictionary definitions for dichotomy


noun (pl) -mies
division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposed: the dichotomy between eastern and western cultures
(logic) the division of a class into two mutually exclusive subclasses: the dichotomy of married and single people
(botany) a simple method of branching by repeated division into two equal parts
the phase of the moon, Venus, or Mercury when half of the disc is visible
Derived Forms
dichotomous, dichotomic (ˌdaɪkəʊˈtɒmɪk) adjective
dichotomously, adverb
Usage note
Dichotomy should always refer to a division of some kind into two groups. It is sometimes used to refer to a puzzling situation which seems to involve a contradiction, but this use is generally thought to be incorrect
Word Origin
C17: from Greek dichotomia; see dicho-, -tomy
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 dichotomy

c.1600, from Greek dichotomia "a cutting in half," from dicha "in two, asunder" (related to dis "twice") + temnein "to cut" (see tome).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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