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[yoo-nuh-ree] /ˈyu nə ri/
adjective, Mathematics
pertaining to a function whose domain is a given set and whose range is contained in that set.
Origin of unary
1570-80; < Latin ūn(us) one + -ary, on the model of binary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for unary


consisting of, or affecting, a single element or component; monadic
Word Origin
C16 (in the obsolete sense: a unit): from Latin unus one + -ary
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 unary

1923, from Latin unus "one" (see one) on model of binary, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unary in Technology

1. (or "monadic") A description of a function or operator which takes one argument, e.g. the unary minus operator which negates its argument. The term is part of the same sequence as nullary and binary.
2. Base one. A number base with only one digit, namely zero, and which can therefore only be used to express the number zero. Attempting to add one to zero results in an infinite sequence of carries. Numbers in unary notation can be represented particularly efficiently however since each digit requires no storage.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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