- adjacent bits, usually eight, processed by a computer as a unit.
- the combination of bits used to represent a particular letter, number, or special character.
Origin of byte
First recorded in 1959; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for byte
Dan shalbe a serpent in the waye/ and an edder in the path/ and byte the horse heles/ so yt his ryder shall fall backwarde.The First Boke of Moses called Genesis
- a group of bits, usually eight, processed as a single unit of data
- the storage space in a memory or other storage device that is allocated to such a group of bits
- a subdivision of a word
C20: probably a blend of bit 4 + 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
Word Origin and History for byte
1956, American English; see bit (n.2). Reputedly coined by Dr. Werner Buchholz at IBM.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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).
Usage: 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 , 11 , 100 , 101 , 110 , 111 . 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. In origin byte is simply a respelling of bite, a byte being the number of bits that a computer can take at one bite, so to speak. The spelling change was intended to avoid confusion in written documents, since bite becomes identical to bit if the e at the end of bite is accidentally dropped. 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).
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