bit depth

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(n.) On computer monitors, each pixel can be represented by a variable number of bits used to describe the pixel’s color. Bit depth is the number of bits used in this capacity. A bit depth of two means that only black or white pixels can be shown, a bit depth of four allows the display of 16 colors, a bit depth of eight allows 256 colors, a bit depth of 16 represents 65 536 colors, and 24-bit color yields 16.7 million colors.