binary search tree

(data structure)

Definition: A binary tree where every node's left subtree has keys less than the node's key, and every right subtree has keys greater than the node's key.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
binary tree, search tree.

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
AVL tree, splay tree, threaded tree, randomized binary search tree, discrete interval encoding tree.

Aggregate parent (I am a part of or used in ...)
treesort (1).

See also relaxed balance, ternary search tree, move-to-root heuristic, jump list.

Note: A binary search tree is almost always implemented with pointers, but may have a variety of constraints on how it is composed.

Author: PEB


Ben Pfaff's insert, delete, search, copy, etc. (literate C); Maksim Goleta's Collections (C#) implementing stacks, queues, linked lists, binary search trees, AVL trees, and dictionaries. insert (C), insert (C), search (C). Algorithms and Data Structures' explanation with links to add, delete, search, and output values in order (Java and C++). Insert, search, delete, and various traversals (Modula-2) (use must be acknowledged).

More information

A animation (Java).

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 26 January 2015.
HTML page formatted Mon Feb 2 13:10:39 2015.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "binary search tree", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 26 January 2015. (accessed TODAY) Available from: