Bit is a portmanteau of binary digit.

A byte is 8 bits.

A nibble is 4 bits (half a byte).

Is there a word for a pair of bytes?


It is word which is 16 bits.

They are (in order of increasing size)


Please note that a word is the standard memory bus width in your architecture. It can be 8 bits or 16 bits or 32 bits or 64 bits based on the CPU.

You can read more about assembler(binary) here (this is a random link I found on google for your reference, but I verified that the information is correct about the above mentioned. Search on google).

  • 3
    If word is so flexible, how can it definitively mean "a pair of bytes" if byte means only eight bits? – Robusto Mar 19 '13 at 12:14
  • Unless otherwise excited, it decays to the ground state. – John Lawler Mar 19 '13 at 14:31
  • @Robusto: A word is 16 bits in a conventional sense. As a matter of fact, the most common architecture even in the present day is x86-32, in which a word is 16 bits. Like @coleopterist mentioned in his comment, more details can be found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Units_of_information – Fr0zenFyr Mar 20 '13 at 10:42
  • 1
    @Fr0zenFyr A word is 32 bits on x86-32 and 64 bits on x86-64. Some x86-specific technical documents use "word" to mean a 16-bit value for consistency with documentation and software written for 8086 processors, which had 16-bit words. This usage of "word" does not mean that x86 processors use 16-bit words. See the list of word sizes at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_(computer_architecture) – Heatsink Mar 20 '13 at 15:36

I will offer this up as a suggestion, though I don't believe it was ever used in serious writing. A playte is unambiguously 16 bits, and also; chawmp in the context of a 32 bit machine.

see here and here

I would've just commented on the previous answer but I don't have enough reputation yet, so I'll leave an alternate answer instead.

Also, I believe nybble is the correct spelling for four bits.

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