• Differentiate


    • UK IPA: /dɪf.əˈrɛn.ʃi.eɪt/
    • US IPA: /ˌdɪ.fəˈrɛnt.ʃi.eɪt/


    From New Latin *differentiatus, past participle of *differentiare, from Latin differentia ("difference"); see difference.

    Full definition of differentiate


    1. (transitive) To show, or be the distinction between two things.
      • EarleThe word "then" was differentiated into the two forms "then" and "than".
      • 1933, George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London Chapter Ch. XXII, The mass of the rich and poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.
    2. (intransitive) To perceive the difference between things; to discriminate.
      • 1964, S:New York Times v. Sullivan, he refused to instruct that actual intent to harm or recklessness had to be found before punitive damages could be awarded, or that a verdict for respondent should differentiate between compensatory and punitive damages.
    3. (transitive, intransitive) To modify, or be modified.
    4. (transitive, mathematics) To calculate the derivative of a function.
    5. (transitive, mathematics) To calculate the differential of a function of multiple variables.
    6. (intransitive, biology) To produce distinct organs or to achieve specific functions by a process of development called differentiation.
      • 1930, Robert Evans Snodgrass, S:Insects, Their Ways and Means of Living, In Chapter IV we learned that every animal consists of a body, or soma, formed of cells that are differentiated from the germ cells usually at an early stage of development.

    Derived terms

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