Dichotomy Definition

dichotomy definition

Dichotomy Definition

“A dichotomy is any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts,
meaning it is a procedure in which a whole is divided into two parts.”


Dichotomy is one of those cool words that most people have heard enough times in their lives to be aware that it exists. But what does it mean? Here you’ll find both the answers and insights.

Dichotomy of Life

You know that different people sometimes have different opinions on the same things. Be it a popular book/movie, economy or presidential elections, it is easy to come up with mutually exclusive viewpoints, splitting the audience into at least two antagonized groups. It is taught in law schools (it is also called regardless arguing), and some people make a living from selling it.

Fortunately, law and money are not the only battlefields for dichotomy. Regular and even mundane things are a ground as rich for dichotomy as anything. This is something I noticed a long time ago and by now have accumulated some supply of. I want to share my findings with an audience, hoping it will find it at least as intellectually stimulating as I did myself.

Dictionary Definitions of Dichotomy

As far as dictionary definitions of dichotomy are concerned, it is more about the splitting–with implied separation–than about fruitful collaboration between the differences. This work, however, emphasizes the complimentary aspect of dichotomies, demonstrate how a more comprehensive understanding is achieved through a juxtaposition of the infamous non-overlapping parts. The final goal, of course, is to get to the truth, if possible.

Welcome to a new dichotomy definition.

Dictionary Definitions of Dichotomy


  • a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities; also: the process or practice of making such a division.
  • the phase of the moon or an inferior planet in which half its disk appears illuminated.
  • a: bifurcation; especially repeated bifurcation (as of a plant’s stem) | b: a system of branching in which the main axis forks repeatedly into two branches | c: branching of an ancestral line into two equal diverging branches.
  • something with seemingly contradictory qualities.


Oxford Dictionaries

  • a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different:a rigid dichotomy between science and mysticism
  • Botany repeated branching into two equal parts.

Origin: late 16th century: via modern Latin from Greek dikhotomia, from dikho- ’in two, apart’ + -tomia



  1. Division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions.
  2. Astronomy The phase of the moon, Mercury, or Venus when half of the disk is illuminated.
  3. Botany Branching characterized by successive forking into two approximately equal divisions.

[Greek dikhotomi, from dikhotomosdivided in two : dikho-dicho- + temneinto cut; see tem- in Indo-European roots.]

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