from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Resulting from or employing derivation.
  • adjective Copied or adapted from others.
  • noun Something derived.
  • noun Linguistics A word formed from another by derivation, such as electricity from electric.
  • noun The limiting value of the ratio of the change in a function to the corresponding change in its independent variable.
  • noun The instantaneous rate of change of a function with respect to its variable.
  • noun The slope of the tangent line to the graph of a function at a given point.
  • noun Chemistry A compound derived or obtained from another and containing essential elements of the parent substance.
  • noun A financial instrument that derives its value from another more fundamental asset, as a commitment to buy a bond for a certain sum on a certain date.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In geology, derived from some other source; not native to the rock in which it is now found.
  • Derived; taken or having proceeded from another or something preceding; secondary: as, a derivative word; a derivative conveyance.
  • In biology, relating to derivation, or to the doctrine of derivation: as, the derivative theory.
  • In medicine, having a tendency to lessen inflammation or reduce a morbid process.
  • noun In medicine, a therapeutic method or agent employed to lessen a morbid process in one part by producing a flow of blood or lymph to another part, as cupping, leeching, blisters, catharsis, etc.
  • noun That which is derived; that which is deduced or comes by derivation from another.
  • noun Specifically A word derived or formed either immediately from another, or remotely from a primitive or root: thus, ‘verb,’ ‘verbal,’ ‘verbose’ are derivatives of the Latin verbum; ‘duke,’ ‘duct,’ ‘adduce,’ ‘conduce,’ ‘conduct,’ ‘conduit,’ etc., are derivatives of the Latin ducere; ‘feeder’ is a derivative of ‘feed,’ and ‘feed’ a derivative of ‘food.’ See derivation, 3.
  • noun In music: The root or generator from which a chord is derived.
  • noun Same as derivative chord (which see, above).
  • noun In mathematics: A derivative function; a differential coefficient.
  • noun The slope of a scalar function; a vector function whose direction is that of most rapid increase of a scalar function (of which it is said to be the derivative), and whose magnitude is equal to the increase in this direction of the scalar function per unit of distance
  • noun More generally, any function derived from another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Obtained by derivation; derived; not radical, original, or fundamental; originating, deduced, or formed from something else; secondary
  • adjective Hence, unoriginal (said of art or other intellectual products.
  • adjective a modification of the circulation found in some parts of the body, in which the arteries empty directly into the veins without the interposition of capillaries.
  • noun That which is derived; anything obtained or deduced from another.
  • noun (Gram.) A word formed from another word, by a prefix or suffix, an internal modification, or some other change; a word which takes its origin from a root.
  • noun (Mus.) A chord, not fundamental, but obtained from another by inversion; or, vice versa, a ground tone or root implied in its harmonics in an actual chord.
  • noun (Med.) An agent which is adapted to produce a derivation (in the medical sense).
  • noun (Math.) A derived function; a function obtained from a given function by a certain algebraic process.
  • noun (Chem.) A substance so related to another substance by modification or partial substitution as to be regarded as derived from it

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Imitative of the work of someone else.
  • adjective law Referring to a work, such as a translation or adaptation, based on another work that may be subject to copyright restrictions.
  • adjective finance Having a value that depends on an underlying asset of variable value.
  • adjective Lacking originality.
  • noun Something derived.
  • noun linguistics A word that derives from another one.
  • noun finance A financial instrument whose value depends on the valuation of an underlying asset; such as a warrant, an option etc.
  • noun chemistry A chemical derived from another.
  • noun calculus The derived function of a function.
  • noun calculus The value of this function for a given value of its independent variable.

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

  • adjective resulting from or employing derivation
  • noun a compound obtained from, or regarded as derived from, another compound
  • noun (linguistics) a word that is derived from another word
  • noun a financial instrument whose value is based on another security
  • noun the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from French dérivatif and Latin derivatus; see derive.


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  • "4. In medicine, a therapeutic method or agent employed to lessen a morbid process in one part by producing a flow of blood or lymph to another part, as cupping, leeching, blisters, catharsis, etc."

    --Century Dictionary

    April 7, 2011