Exclusive Or

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What Does Exclusive Or Mean?

Exclusive or (XOR, EOR or EXOR) is a logical operator which results true when either of the operands are true (one is true and the other one is false) but both are not true and both are not false. In logical condition making, the simple “or” is a bit ambiguous when both operands are true. Because in that case it is very difficult to understand what exactly satisfies the condition. To remove this ambiguity, the “exclusive” term has been added to “or” to make it more clear in meaning.

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Exclusive or is also known as exclusive disjunction.

Techopedia Explains Exclusive Or

The exclusive or is very clear in meaning when trying to eliminate the true/false states of various operands in the conditional expression. The expression using an exclusive or is true if and only if one operand is true and the other is false, assuming two operands are participating in the expression.

In considering a chain of operands participating in an expression with exclusive or conditional operators, for example x XOR y XOR z…XOR n. Here the output of the entire expression is true if an odd number of operands are resulting true. Conversely, the entire output of the expression is false if even numbers of operands are resulting true. In simple terms, exclusive or means that one or the other must be true, but both cannot be true and both cannot be false.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.