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This is how we should read hexadecimal…

Today my five-year-old told me that when she was four, she thought that what came after ninety-nine was… tenty. You know, because seventy, eighty, ninety, tenty.

At first I thought it was just funny and charming, but then I realized it was actually a really good idea. Tenty is only nonsensical if you’re counting in base ten (or lower), but it makes total sense for higher bases.

How do people usually read 0xA0? “A-zero”? How unimaginative! Let’s read that “tenty” from now on!

Here are some more examples of how to read hexadecimal in a non-boring way:

  • 0xB3 is eleventy-three
  • 0xCA is twelvety-ten
  • 0xD9 is thirteenty-nine
  • 0xEC is fourteenty-twelve
  • 0xFF is fifteenty-fifteen
  • 0xF04A is fifteen hexathousand forty-ten
  • 0x4B2AC0AA is forty-eleven hexamillion, two hexahundred tenty-twelve hexathousand tenty-ten
  • and of course, seven-eleven will have to change their logo to 0x7B.

Repeat after me... One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, onety, onety-one, and so on.

Is this the greatest thing or what?


Blake said:

Both adorable and decidedly practical.

# March 22, 2013 3:34 AM

Alexander Rechsteiner said:

So how would you read 0x50?

# March 22, 2013 6:06 AM

Matt Davey said:

How has nobody thought of this before?!

# March 22, 2013 6:15 AM

ziliang said:

So when I say ten do you know whether I mean 10 or A?

# March 22, 2013 6:33 AM

Cousin Benoit said:

So, Bilbo Baggins was "in" when announcing his eleventy first birthday!

# March 22, 2013 7:33 AM

haliphax said:

Made me chuckle. :D

# March 22, 2013 8:36 AM

Lippy said:

Best hex post ever.

# March 22, 2013 8:44 AM

Sébastien Molines said:

Love it! It's great when a simple elegant idea comes out of left field, even more so when derived from paying attention to the comments of a child.

# March 22, 2013 9:18 AM

BigDon said:

"and" should only be used to denote the "Decimal point" or "Hexapoint" not the last 2 digits

# March 22, 2013 10:59 AM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

@BigDon: thanks, I hope I got it right this time.

@Ziliang: if context is not clear, prefix with "hexa", so I'd ask "ten or hexaten?"

@Alexander: if context is not clear, I'd read it "hexafifty", otherwise just "fifty".

# March 22, 2013 11:55 AM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

@Simon, you're right of course. Fixed it. Did I proofread this? Apparently not.

@PerpetualKid: but of course, why did I not research Calvin and Hobbes for this? It's typically the sort of thing they would think about. So now we know that those are not imaginary numbers (which exist by the way), but instead that eleventeen would be decimal 21 (useful in bases 22 and up), and thirty-twelve 0x3C.

# March 22, 2013 12:11 PM

Steve said:

My 5 year old would say "fivety" instead of "fifty"...

# March 22, 2013 5:49 PM

Mike C said:

Love this, but I think we should look at alternatives to the thousands and millions denominators, since those are based on groups of three, whereas hexadecimal is usually parsed into bytes (groups of 2) or some multiplication of bytes.

Perhaps "Thousand" should represent greater than two bytes (16 bits, 4 Hex digits), and "Million" represent greater than four bytes (32 bits, 8 Hex digits), so 0x4B2AC0AA would then read as "Fourty-Eleven, Twenty-Ten Thousand, Twelvty Tenty Ten"?  (Has a nice ring to it...)

# March 27, 2013 2:09 PM

Bertrand Le Roy said:

@Mike: hundred, bidred, tridred, etc?

# March 27, 2013 2:25 PM

Mike C said:

@Bertrand: I think it gets too clunky if we group them too small (such as to each byte), but there may be an opportunity to bring back "Nibble" and "Word" in here somewhere.

# March 27, 2013 2:40 PM