What was the meaning of the first four registers on the x86?

As you can see from the figure above, data in the first four 16-bit registers could also be accessed by one of the eight 8-bit registers. AX was a 16-bit accumulator, while AH and AL could be thought of as 8-bit registers on their own or as a way to access the high-order and the low-order bytes of AX.
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