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(pronounced dye-KAH-tah-mee)

This term with Greek origins has several meanings that all share one thing in common: a comparison of two parts. One way in which the word is used is to talk about a division into two – especially two things that are contradictory or mutually exclusive. From the dictionary we found the example “the dichotomy between theory and practice.” You can also use the word to describe the means of making such a dissection: “the dichotomy of the political landscape into two conflicting parties.” Our favorite definition, however, is a thing which possesses seemingly contradictory qualities. See the example sentence below.

Example: The firm understood that the magnet school they were designing was quite a dichotomy – a state of the art teaching facility built amongst one of the poorest, least privileged segments of the city.