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

  • intransitive verb To obtain or receive from a source.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To produce or obtain (a compound) from another substance by chemical reaction.
  • intransitive verb To trace the origin or development of (a word).
  • intransitive verb To generate (a linguistic structure) from another structure or set of structures.
  • intransitive verb To arrive at by reasoning; deduce or infer.
  • intransitive verb To be derived from a source; originate. synonym: stem.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To turn aside or divert, as water or other fluid, from its natural course or channel: as, to derive water from the main channel or current into lateral rivulets.
  • Figuratively, to turn aside; divert.
  • To draw or receive, as from a source or origin, or by regular transmission: as, to derive ideas from the senses; to derive instruction from a book; his estate is derived from his ancestors.
  • Specifically To draw or receive (a word) from a more original root or stem: as, the word ‘rule’ is derived from the Latin; ‘feed’ is derived from ‘food.’ See derivation
  • To deduce, as from premises; trace, as from a source or origin: involving a personal subject.
  • To communicate or transfer from one to another, as by descent.
  • To come, proceed, or be derived.

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

  • intransitive verb To flow; to have origin; to descend; to proceed; to be deduced.
  • transitive verb obsolete To turn the course of, as water; to divert and distribute into subordinate channels; to diffuse; to communicate; to transmit; -- followed by to, into, on, upon.
  • transitive verb To receive, as from a source or origin; to obtain by descent or by transmission; to draw; to deduce; -- followed by from.
  • transitive verb To trace the origin, descent, or derivation of; to recognize transmission of.
  • transitive verb (Chem.) To obtain one substance from another by actual or theoretical substitution.

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

  • verb transitive To obtain or receive (something) from something else.
  • verb transitive, logic To deduce (a conclusion) by reasoning.
  • verb transitive, linguistics To find the derivation of (a word or phrase).
  • verb transitive, chemistry To create (a compound) from another by means of a reaction.
  • verb intransitive To originate or stem (from).

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

  • verb come from; be connected by a relationship of blood, for example
  • verb develop or evolve from a latent or potential state
  • verb reason by deduction; establish by deduction
  • verb come from
  • verb obtain


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

[Middle English deriven, to be derived from, from Old French deriver, from Latin dērīvāre, to derive, draw off : dē-, de- + rīvus, stream; see rei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English deriven, from Old French deriver, from Latin derivare ("to lead, turn, or draw off (a liquid), draw off, derive"), from de ("away") + rivus ("a stream"); see rival.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word derive.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.