1. A combining form or prefix meaning two, twice, or doubly; as, bidentate, two-toothed; biternate, doubly ternate, referring to double structures, dual actions, etc.

2. <chemistry> In the composition of chemical names it denotes two atoms, parts, or equivalents of that constituent to the name of which it is prefixed, to one of the other component, or that such constituent is present in double the ordinary proportion; as, bichromate, bisulphide. Be- and di- are often used interchangeably. Also used in chemistry to denote a partially neutralised acid (an acid salt); e.g., bisulfate.

See: bis-, two.

Compare: di-, dis-.

Origin: L. Bis twice, which in composition drops the -s, akin to E. Two.

(20 Jun 2000)

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