- 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
Examples from the Web for dichotomies
Mr. MacLeay, himself no great friend to dichotomies in general, is completely led away by this particular one.Sphinx Vespiformis
- 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
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
Word Origin and History for dichotomies
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