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end +‎ -ian; from a passage in Gulliver's Travels in which an emperor, after cutting his finger after opening an egg at the large end, commands his subjects to open them at the small end; those who comply are called “Little-Endians”, while those who rebel by opening their eggs at the large end are called “Big-Endians.”

The usage of the term endian in computing was coined by Danny Cohen in 1980.

1980 April 1, Danny Cohen, Internet Experiment Note 137: On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace[1]:
The root of the conflict lies much deeper than that. It is the question of which bit should travel first, the bit from the little end of the word, or the bit from the big end of the word? The followers of the former approach are called the Little-Endians, and the followers of the latter are called the Big-Endians.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɛn.di.ən/
    • (file)


endian (not comparable)

  1. (computing) Of a computer, storing multibyte numbers with the most significant byte at a greater (little-endian) or lower (big-endian) address.
    endian-neutral code

Related termsEdit


Old EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Proto-Germanic *andijōną (to end). Cognate with Old Frisian endia (to finish), Old Saxon endiōn (to come to a stop), Old High German entōn (to end), Old Norse enda (to end).




  1. to end, make an end of
  2. to finish, complete
  3. to abolish, destroy
  4. to come to an end, cease; to die


Derived termsEdit


  • Middle English: enden