- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposedthe dichotomy between eastern and western cultures
- logic the division of a class into two mutually exclusive subclassesthe 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
Word Origin for dichotomy
C17: from Greek dichotomia; see dicho-, -tomy
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
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
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