follow Dictionary.com

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

dichotomy

[dahy-kot-uh-mee] /daɪˈkɒt ə mi/
noun, plural dichotomies.
1.
division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs.
2.
division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups:
a dichotomy between thought and action.
3.
Botany. a mode of branching by constant forking, as in some stems, in veins of leaves, etc.
4.
Astronomy. the phase of the moon or of an inferior planet when half of its disk is visible.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; < Greek dichotomía. See dicho-, -tomy
Related forms
dichotomic
[dahy-kuh-tom-ik] /ˌdaɪ kəˈtɒm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
dichotomically, adverb
subdichotomy, noun, plural subdichotomies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
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

dichotomy

/daɪˈkɒtəmɪ/
noun (pl) -mies
1.
division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposed: the dichotomy between eastern and western cultures
2.
(logic) the division of a class into two mutually exclusive subclasses: the dichotomy of married and single people
3.
(botany) a simple method of branching by repeated division into two equal parts
4.
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dichotomy
n.

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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for dichotomy

bifurcation

(from Greek dicha, "apart," and tomos, "cutting"), a form of logical division consisting of the separation of a class into two subclasses, one of which has and the other has not a certain quality or attribute. Men thus may be divided into professional men and men who are not professionals; each of these may be subdivided similarly. On the principle of contradiction this division is both exhaustive and exclusive; there can be no overlapping, and no members of the original genus or the lower groups are omitted. This method of classification, though formally accurate, has slight value in the exact sciences, partly because at every step one of the two groups is merely negatively characterized and is usually an artificial, motley class; but it sets forth clearly the gradual descent from the most inclusive genus (summum genus) through species to the lowest class (infima species), which is divisible only into individual persons or things.

Learn more about bifurcation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dichotomy

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dichotomy

0
20
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dichotomy