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From Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Ancient Greek ἑτερογενής (heterogenḗs, of different kinds), from ἕτερος (héteros, other, another, different) + γένος (génos, kind). Compare hetero- and -ous.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌhɛt.(ə.)ɹəˈd͡ʒiː.nɪəs/, /ˌhɛt.(ə)ˈɹɒd͡ʒ.ə.nəs/, /ˌhɛt.(ə.)ɹəʊˈd͡ʒiː.nɪəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌhɛt.(ə.)ɹəˈd͡ʒiː.ni.əs/, /ˌhɛt.(ə)ˈɹɑd͡ʒ.ə.nəs/, /ˌhɛt.(ə.)ɹoʊˈd͡ʒiː.ni.əs/
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heterogeneous (comparative more heterogeneous, superlative most heterogeneous)

  1. Diverse in kind or nature; composed of diverse parts.
    He had a large and heterogeneous collection of books.
    • 1931, H. P. Lovecraft, chapter 6, in The Whisperer in Darkness:
      With a vague curiosity I began to trace the outline of some of the heterogeneous impressions, trying meanwhile to curb the flights of macabre fancy which the place and its memories suggested.
  2. (mathematics) Incommensurable because of different kinds.
  3. (physics, chemistry) Having more than one phase (solid, liquid, gas) present in a system or process.
  4. (chemistry) Visibly consisting of different components.
  5. (computing) Of a network comprising different types of computers, potentially with vastly differing memory sizes, processing power and even basic underlying architecture; alternatively, of a data resource with multiple types of formats.



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