Lexicographic order topology on the unit square

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In general topology, the lexicographic ordering on the unit square (sometimes the dictionary order on the unit square[1]) is a topology on the unit square S, i.e. on the set of points (x,y) in the plane such that 0 ≤ x ≤ 1 and 0 ≤ y ≤ 1.[2]


The lexicographical ordering gives a total ordering on the points in the unit square: if (x,y) and (u,v) are two points in the square, (x,y) (u,v) if and only if either x < u or both x = u and y < v. Stated symbolically,

The lexicographic ordering on the unit square is the order topology induced by this ordering.


The order topology makes S into a completely normal Hausdorff space.[3] Since the lexicographical order on S can be proven to be complete, this topology makes S into a compact space. At the same time, S contains an uncountable number of pairwise disjoint open intervals, each homeomorphic to the real line, namely the intervals for . So S is not separable, since any dense subset has to contain at least one point in each . Hence S is not metrizable (since any compact metric space is separable); however, it is first countable. Also, S is connected and locally connected, but not path connected and not locally path connected.[1] Its fundamental group is trivial.[2]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b 1950-, Lee, John M. (2011). Introduction to topological manifolds (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. ISBN 978-1441979391. OCLC 697506452.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Steen & Seebach (1995), p. 73.
  3. ^ Steen & Seebach (1995), p. 66.


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