Definition of endian in English:



usually in phrase big-endian" or "little-endian
  • Denoting or relating to a system of ordering bytes in a word, or bits in a byte, in which the most significant (or least significant) item is put first.

    ‘big-endian vs. little-endian representation of data’
    ‘a lot of communications and networking hardware is little-endian’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If one number in the file is little-endian, the whole file will be little-endian.’
    • ‘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.’


1980s from Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which big-endians and little-endians ate boiled eggs by breaking the ‘big’ end or ‘little’ end respectively.