Definition of dichotomous in English:



  • 1Exhibiting or characterized by dichotomy.

    ‘a dichotomous view of the world’
    • ‘Well, you see the problem is the assumption that these two types of society are dichotomous.’
    • ‘Teaching should not be viewed as dichotomous because these factors of effective teaching are intertwined in action.’
    • ‘It's reflective of the dichotomous nature of American thinking.’
    • ‘In our either-or dichotomous system of logic, weakness is the opposite of strength.’
    • ‘Technically, the two sides of a coin present a dichotomous choice.’
    • ‘My thinking on this curious dichotomous view of the Church (and the even more curious affinity it has with leftist dissent) can be found here.’
    • ‘The trends undermine a dichotomous view of British politics and society - a political dimension of left and right which correlates with two political parties and two social classes.’
    • ‘The forced-choice format is used with each item presented separately and each pole representing a dichotomous extreme for one attitude or function.’
    • ‘This view emphasizes the dichotomous thinking and behavior often displayed by alcoholics.’
    • ‘When literacy and orality are not viewed within a dichotomous framework, then memory is no longer separate from literacy.’
    • ‘Crewdson's work is replete with dichotomous tensions.’
    • ‘The two alternatives, presented as dichotomous above, may be viewed as partly overlapping, and not mutually exclusive.’
    • ‘Thus, communion and agency were generally viewed as dichotomous, limiting the possibility that both can be evident simultaneously within a given person.’
    • ‘However, there are dangers in using these dichotomous terms.’
    • ‘Grappling with ACTION's history helps make the case for why a dichotomous view of Civil Rights and Black Power obscures more than it illuminates.’
    • ‘And Ramon's character is dichotomous in a way never fully explored or explained.’
    • ‘The media promotes this dichotomous view of the world.’
    • ‘The lion roaming in a field with Manhattan as a backdrop really captures the dichotomous feeling of the record.’
    • ‘The belief that bisexuality is just a phase is also pervasive, to the point where bisexuals are sometimes falsely encouraged to choose one of the dichotomous extremes of gay and straight.’
    • ‘One way of avoiding this dichotomous thinking is to enable low-income mothers to make their own decisions about whether and when to work inside and outside the home.’
    opposite, opposed, opposing, oppositional, diametrically opposed, extreme, contrary, contradictory, antithetical, antagonistic, conflicting, counterbalancing
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  • 2Botany
    (of branching) in which the axis is divided into two branches.

    • ‘Subsequent branch orders may be dichotomous or pseudomonopodial.’
    • ‘In addition to the taxonomic descriptions, dichotomous keys, illustrations and distribution maps are presented for each species.’
    • ‘They produced several types of foliage all characterized by pinnate leaves with open dichotomous venation.’
    • ‘In some species, variations and gradations between dichotomous and monopodial growth patterns occur.’
    • ‘Most members of this lineage also have the combination of pseudomonopodially-branching main axes or rhizomes, with dichotomous branch tips.’


Late 17th century: via late Latin from Greek dikhotomos (from dikho- in two + temnein to cut) + -ous.