origin of endian

While reading about Endian-ness with microprocessor I became curious about how this term came into existence. The terms Big-Endian and Little-Endian come from Part I, Chapter 4, of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Here is some background what Big and Little mean in here:

The novel further describes an intra-Lilliputian quarrel over the practice of breaking eggs. Traditionally, Lilliputians broke boiled eggs on the larger end; a few generations ago, an Emperor of Lilliput, the Present Emperor’s great-grandfather, had decreed that all eggs be broken on the smaller end after he cut himself breaking the egg on the larger end. The differences between Big-Endians (those who broke their eggs at the larger end) and Little-Endians had given rise to “six rebellions… wherein one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown”. The Lilliputian religion says an egg should be broken on the convenient end, which is now interpreted by the Lilliputians as the smaller end. The Big-Endians gained favour in Blefuscu..

Related articles