# Ternary operation

In mathematics, a **ternary operation** is an *n*-ary operation with *n* = 3. A ternary operation on a set A takes any given three elements of A and combines them to form a single element of A. An example of a ternary operation is the product in a heap.

In computer science, a **ternary operator** is an operator that takes three arguments.^{[1]} The arguments and result can be of different types. Many programming languages that use C-like syntax^{[2]} feature a ternary operator, `?:`

, which defines a conditional expression. Since this operator is often the only existing ternary operator in the language, it is sometimes simply referred to as "*the* ternary operator". In some languages, this operator is referred to as "the conditional operator". Another example for a ternary operator is *between*, as used in SQL.

## See also

- ?: - Ternary operator
- Median algebra
- Planar ternary ring