In computing, endianness is the order or sequence of bytes of a word of digital data in computer memory. Endianness is primarily expressed as big-endian (BE) or little-endian (LE). A big-endian system stores the most significant byte of a word at the smallest memory address and the least significant byte at the largest. A little-endian system, in contrast, stores the least-significant byte at the smallest address. Bi-endianness is a feature supported by numerous computer architectures that feature switchable endianness in data fetches and stores or for instruction fetches. Other orderings are generically called middle-endian or mixed-endian.

Endianness may also be used to describe the order in which the bits are transmitted over a communication channel, e.g., big-endian in a communications channel transmits the most significant bits first.[1] Bit-endianness is seldom used in other contexts.

  1. ^ "RFC 1700".

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