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After I learn about the DFF (Data Flip-Flop). I understand Flip-Flop as a device that can memorize input data at the rising or falling edge of the clock sequence.

But why call it flip-flop? Why not something like edge-triggered memory circuit. It's kind of a nick name which is hard to get for a non-English speaker. And in my country, the translated version is kind of twisted.

Could anyone explain the reason of the naming in plain English? Thanks.


marked as duplicate by pipe, Community Oct 13 '16 at 8:14

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Terms enter the language because they're descriptive and concise. \$\endgroup\$ – Chu Oct 13 '16 at 7:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pipe That's a great post. So essentially, this name emphasizes the characteristic of the circuit that to be able to store/switch between 2 stable/opposite states. \$\endgroup\$ – smwikipedia Oct 13 '16 at 8:14

You know flip-flops? enter image description here

The actual "flip-flop" name is originated from the sound they made while walking (i.e. by slapping of the sole, foot and floor).

In electronics, a F/F has two "stable" states (0->1 or 1->0) and it alternates from one to another when one or more control signals (e.g. clock) is applied. Let's name it: flip as "0 to 1" and flop as "1 to 0".

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Oh really. So you don't think it's because it flips the state, like how you flip a page to the other side? \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Oct 13 '16 at 7:51

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