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  • Noun

dichotomy

dahy-KOT-uh-mee

Context
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The traits that separate or cause a dichotomy between creatures with vertebrae and those without are significant and marked. These two groups have different characteristics and needs, and the dichotomy or division between them has been studied by scientists who follow evolutionary adaptations. Many interesting species fall under the invertebrate category of this split or dichotomy, of which the oyster is a favorite of mine.

Quiz: What is a dichotomy?

  • A practice of studying evolutionary science.
  • A difference between groups of animal species.
  • A distinct difference between two opposing things.

Memory Hook
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Tom, Dick, and Harry The expression "every Tom, Dick, and Harry" would not be suitable for speaking about a "dichotomy" because that expression refers to people who are essentially the same, not entirely different.

Examples
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  • This is an example of the dichotomy between the dreams and the reality that is Israel which has also troubled me during my subsequent visits and assignments in Israel and which trouble me far more today. —BNET
  • The exchange with Mitch revealed the underlying contradiction in Kobe’s attitude toward Shaquille, a symbol, in fact, of a much broader dichotomy in his psyche. —Sports Illustrated
  • 'American Boy' is also the impossibly catchy theme to The Chris Isaak Show, his Showtime series, which revolves around yet another dichotomy: hunky rock star with girl trouble. —Rolling Stone
  • When two statements, ideas, or positions are presented as the only possible options, though in fact one or more other alternatives exist, this is a false dichotomy. —Newsvine

Word Ingredients
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dich- in two
-o- connective
tom cut, cutting, slice
-y state or condition

A dichotomy is a “cutting in two,” or to “cut” into “two” separate and distinct groups.

Word Theater
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BBC: Not Only But Also There is a great dichotomy between these two teams.
Dichotomy

Word Constellation
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Dichotomy

Word Variants
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dichotomous adj of a division or difference between two things