Dichotomy /dī-ˈkä-tə-mē/ noun
Definition: Dichotomy is a noun referring to a division between two contradictory or mutually exclusive groups, such as good and evil or light and dark.
It can also refer to something with contradictory qualities, such as a mansion furnished with poor-quality furniture. Unfortunately, these first two meanings are easily confused and often are.
A third usage for the word is for the phase of the moon where half its disk is illuminated.
Dichotomy is a multi-purpose word; it has another usage as a synonym for bifurcation, especially repeated bifurcation as in a plant’s stem. It is also often found in companies with the word false. A false dichotomy is a fallacy that occurs when someone is presented with only two choices when others are also available.
Etymology: The word has its origins in the 16th century, deriving via Latin from the Greek dikhotomia ‘‘a cutting in half’, from dikho- ‘in two, apart’ and –tomia ‘cutting.’
In a Sentence
Historians have written many papers on the religion-secular dichotomy.
The candidates in the presidential race are a representation of the dichotomy between the two parties.
There was always an apparent dichotomy between the things he did and what he had promised that he would do.