Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To constitute the distinction between: subspecies that are differentiated by the markings on their wings.
  • transitive v. To perceive or show the difference in or between; discriminate.
  • transitive v. To make different by alteration or modification.
  • transitive v. Mathematics To calculate the derivative or differential of (a function).
  • intransitive v. To become distinct or specialized; acquire a different character.
  • intransitive v. To make distinctions; discriminate.
  • intransitive v. Biology To undergo differentiation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To show, or be the distinction between two things.
  • v. To perceive the difference between things; to discriminate.
  • v. To modify, or be modified.
  • v. To calculate the derivative of a function.
  • v. To calculate the differential of a function of multiple variables.
  • v. To produce distinct organs or to achieve specific functions by a process of development called differentiation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To acquire a distinct and separate character.
  • transitive v. To distinguish or mark by a specific difference; to effect a difference in, as regards classification; to develop differential characteristics in; to specialize; to desynonymize.
  • transitive v. To express the specific difference of; to describe the properties of (a thing) whereby it is differenced from another of the same class; to discriminate.
  • transitive v. To obtain the differential, or differential coefficient, of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make different; distinguish by differences; constitute a difference between: as, color of skin differentiates the races of men.
  • Specifically In biology, to accomplish or develop differentiation in; make unlike by modification; specialize in structure or function.
  • In logic, to discriminate between, by observing or describing the differences.
  • In mathematics, to obtain the differential or the differential coefficient of: as, to differentiate an equation.
  • To acquire a distinct and separate character.
  • In history and cytology, to reveal or resolve structures in (a cell, tissue, or organ) by treating with some stain or reagent.
  • n. A differential coefficient.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in a very positive sense
  • v. evolve so as to lead to a new species or develop in a way most suited to the environment
  • v. become different during development
  • v. calculate a derivative; take the derivative
  • v. become distinct and acquire a different character
  • v. mark as different

Etymologies

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

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