Meaning of “binary” in the English Dictionary

"binary" in English

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uk /ˈbaɪ.nər.i/ us /ˈbaɪ.nɚ.i/ specialized

Examples from literature

  • Binary system, a double star, the component parts of which revolve around their centre of gravity. 
  • But she could not take her eyes from those two black objects revolving like binary stars, until her breath should cease to come and go, and her heart to beat. 
  • The matter is put in a binary 'pro-con' manner. 

(Definition of “binary” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"binary" in American English

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binaryadjective [ not gradable ]


consisting of two of something

Binary also describes a numbering system using only two numbers, zero and one

(Definition of “binary” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"binary" in Business English

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uk /ˈbaɪnəri/ us

IT relating to a system of counting, used in computers, in which only the numbers 0 and 1 are used:

the binary system

based on only two numbers:

a binary code/digit/number

consisting of two parts:

The markets face a simple binary decision - stay or go.
noun [ U ]


All computer equipment deals only in binary.

(Definition of “binary” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)