Referring to the orientation of a computer system, application, or network design with respect to the placement of most significant bit or digit in a coding scheme. Little-endian places the most significant bit, digit, or byte in the last, or rightmost, position. Big-endian places the most significant bit, digit, or byte in the first, or leftmost, position. Bi-endian systems can work either way. Motorola processors employ the big-endian approach, whereas Intel processors take the little-endian approach.Telephone numbers, for example, are big-endian, beginning with a country code, followed by an area code, a central office prefix, and a line number. Bit robbing in T1 systems involves the least significant bit (LSB), which is the eighth bit in a byte, which is a little-endian approach.The terms derive from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, in which the Big-Endians were a faction of people on the islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu who defied the emperor's decree that soft-boiled eggs should be broken at the small end before being consumed. See also bi-endian, big-endian, bit, byte, endianess, and LSB.
Origin of little-endian
- See the etymology for endian