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```  3  definitions  found

From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]:

adj  :  of  or  pertaining  to  a  number  system  having  16  as  its  base
[syn:  {hex}]

From  Jargon  File  (4.2.3,  23  NOV  2000)  [jargon]:

hexadecimal  n.  Base  16.  Coined  in  the  early  1960s  to  replace
earlier  `sexadecimal',  which  was  too  racy  and  amusing  for  stuffy  IBM,
and  later  adopted  by  the  rest  of  the  industry.

Actually,  neither  term  is  etymologically  pure.  If  we  take
`binary'  to  be  paradigmatic,  the  most  etymologically  correct  term  for  base
10,  for  example,  is  `denary',  which  comes  from  `deni'  (ten  at  a  time,  ten
each),  a  Latin  `distributive'  number;  the  corresponding  term  for  base-16
would  be  something  like  `sendenary'.  Decimal"  comes  from  the  combining
root  of  `decem',  Latin  for  10.  If  wish  to  create  a  truly  analogous
word  for  base  16,  we  should  start  with  `sedecim',  Latin  for  16.  Ergo,
`sedecimal'  is  the  word  that  would  have  been  created  by  a  Latin  scholar.
The  `sexa-'  prefix  is  Latin  but  incorrect  in  this  context,  and  `hexa-'
is  Greek.  The  word  `octal'  is  similarly  incorrect;  a  correct  form  would
be  `octaval'  (to  go  with  decimal),  or  `octonary'  (to  go  with  binary).
If  anyone  ever  implements  a  base-3  computer,  computer  scientists  will
be  faced
with  the  unprecedented  dilemma  of  a  choice  between  two  _correct_
forms;  both  `ternary'  and  `trinary'  have  a  claim  to  this  throne.

From  The  Free  On-line  Dictionary  of  Computing  (13  Mar  01)  [foldoc]:

(Or  "hex")  {Base}  16.  A  number  representation
using  the  digits  0-9,  with  their  usual  meaning,  plus  the
letters  A-F  (or  a-f)  to  represent  hexadecimal  digits  with
values  of  (decimal)  10  to  15.  The  right-most  digit  counts
ones,  the  next  counts  multiples  of  16,  then  16^2  =  256,  etc

digit  weight  value
B  =  11  16^3  =  4096  11*4096  =  45056
E  =  14  16^2  =  256  14*  256  =  3584
A  =  10  16^1  =  16  10*  16  =  160
D  =  13  16^0  =  1  13*  1  =  13
-----

There  are  many  conventions  for  distinguishing  hexadecimal
numbers  from  decimal  or  other  bases  in  programs.  In  {C}  for
example,  the  prefix  "0x"  is  used  e.g.  0x694A11.

Hexadecimal  is  more  succinct  than  {binary}  for  representing
but  it  is  still  reasonably  easy  to  split  a  hex  number  into
different  bit  positions,  e.g.  the  top  16  bits  of  a  32-bit  word
are  the  first  four  hex  digits.

The  term  was  coined  in  the  early  1960s  to  replace  earlier
"sexadecimal",  which  was  too  racy  and  amusing  for  stuffy
{IBM},  and  later  adopted  by  the  rest  of  the  industry.

Actually,  neither  term  is  etymologically  pure.  If  we  take
binary"  to  be  paradigmatic,  the  most  etymologically  correct
term  for  base  ten  for  example,  is  "denary",  which  comes  from
deni"  (ten  at  a  time,  ten  each),  a  Latin  distributive"
number;  the  corresponding  term  for  base  sixteen  would  be
something  like  "sendenary".  Decimal"  is  from  an  ordinal
number;  the  corresponding  prefix  for  six  would  imply  something
like  "sextidecimal".  The  "sexa-"  prefix  is  Latin  but
incorrect  in  this  context,  and  "hexa-"  is  Greek.  The  word
{octal}  is  similarly  incorrect;  a  correct  form  would  be
octaval"  (to  go  with  decimal),  or  octonary"  (to  go  with
binary).  If  anyone  ever  implements  a  base  three  computer,
computer  scientists  will  be  faced  with  the  unprecedented
dilemma  of  a  choice  between  two  *correct*  forms;  both
ternary"  and  trinary"  have  a  claim  to  this  throne.

[{Jargon  File}]

(1996-03-09)

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