A dichotomy is an idea or classification split in two. When you point out a dichotomy, you draw a clear distinction between two things.

A dichotomy is a contrast between two things. When there are two ideas, especially two opposed ideas — like war and peace, or love and hate — you have a dichotomy. You often hear about a "false dichotomy," which occurs when a situation is unfairly represented as an "either/or" scenario. For example, the statement "All cars are either small and efficient or large and polluting" creates a false dichotomy because there are some cars that don't fit into either category.

Definitions of dichotomy

n being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses

“the dichotomy between eastern and western culture”
Type of:
categorisation, categorization, classification
a group of people or things arranged by class or category

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a life-long learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.