10.1.7.7 The BINARY Operator

The BINARY operator casts the string following it to a binary string. This is an easy way to force a comparison to be done byte by byte rather than character by character. BINARY also causes trailing spaces to be significant.

mysql> SELECT 'a' = 'A';
        -> 1
mysql> SELECT BINARY 'a' = 'A';
        -> 0
mysql> SELECT 'a' = 'a ';
        -> 1
mysql> SELECT BINARY 'a' = 'a ';
        -> 0

BINARY str is shorthand for CAST(str AS BINARY).

The BINARY attribute in character column definitions has a different effect. A character column defined with the BINARY attribute is assigned the binary collation of the column character set. Every character set has a binary collation. For example, the binary collation for the latin1 character set is latin1_bin, so if the table default character set is latin1, these two column definitions are equivalent:

CHAR(10) BINARY
CHAR(10) CHARACTER SET latin1 COLLATE latin1_bin

The use of CHARACTER SET binary in the definition of a CHAR, VARCHAR, or TEXT column causes the column to be treated as a binary data type. For example, the following pairs of definitions are equivalent:

CHAR(10) CHARACTER SET binary
BINARY(10)

VARCHAR(10) CHARACTER SET binary
VARBINARY(10)

TEXT CHARACTER SET binary
BLOB