Definition of endian in English:



  • Denoting or relating to a system of ordering data in a computer's memory whereby the most significant (big-endian) or least significant (little-endian) byte is put first.

    • ‘Out of the many advantages to this format, one is quite relevant to Linux users: it is fully binary-compatible across big-endian and little-endian computers.’
    • ‘Remember, on a little-endian machine, the first byte is the least significant one.’
    • ‘As a student and research assistant at Columbia University's Computer Music Center, I took a first stab at a Linux port which had to use this program to unswap big-endian files.’
    • ‘In the bigendian systems, those bytes happened to be zeros (making the system appear to work properly), while on the little-endian systems, they were nonzero, causing the string to appear to be corrupted.’
    • ‘If one number in the file is little-endian, the whole file will be little-endian.’


1980s: a reference to Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which the Lilliputians were divided into two camps, those who ate their eggs by opening the big end and those who ate them by opening the little end.