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

  • adjective Of, relating to, or showing a difference.
  • adjective Constituting or making a difference; distinctive.
  • adjective Dependent on or making use of a specific difference or distinction.
  • adjective Mathematics Of or relating to differentiation.
  • adjective Involving differences in speed or direction of motion.
  • noun An infinitesimal increment in a variable.
  • noun The product of the derivative of a function of one variable and the increment of the independent variable.
  • noun A differential gear.
  • noun A difference between comparable things, as in wage rate or in price.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In mech.: So constructed that the resulting motion is the algebraic sum of two unequal motions in opposite directions.
  • Having differing velocities, as automobile driving-shafts when rounding corners and curves, and rollers for grinding grain.
  • Selective; having different effects upon different kinds of material: as, differential weathering.
  • Making or exhibiting a difference or distinction; discriminating; distinguishing; special.
  • Having or exhibiting a difference.
  • In mathematics, pertaining to a differential or differentials, or to mathematical processes in which they are employed.
  • noun In math.: An infinitesimal difference between two values of a variable quantity.
  • noun A logarithmic tangent.
  • noun In boil., a morphological difference; a distinction or distinctive characteristic of form or structure: correlated with equivalent.

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

  • noun (Math.) An increment, usually an indefinitely small one, which is given to a variable quantity.
  • noun A small difference in rates which competing railroad lines, in establishing a common tariff, allow one of their number to make, in order to get a fair share of the business. The lower rate is called a differential rate. Differentials are also sometimes granted to cities.
  • noun One of two coils of conducting wire so related to one another or to a magnet or armature common to both, that one coil produces polar action contrary to that of the other.
  • noun A form of conductor used for dividing and distributing the current to a series of electric lamps so as to maintain equal action in all.
  • noun (Math.) the differential of a function of two or more variables, when only one of the variables receives an increment.
  • noun (Math.) the differential of a function of two or more variables, when each of the variables receives an increment. The total differential of the function is the sum of all the partial differentials.
  • adjective Relating to or indicating a difference; creating a difference; discriminating; special
  • adjective (Math.) Of or pertaining to a differential, or to differentials.
  • adjective (Mech.) Relating to differences of motion or leverage; producing effects by such differences; said of mechanism.
  • adjective (Math.) See under Calculus.
  • adjective the limit of the ratio of the increment of a function of a variable to the increment of the variable itself, when these increments are made indefinitely small.
  • adjective a form of slip coupling used in light machinery to regulate at pleasure the velocity of the connected shaft.
  • adjective (Polit. Econ.) duties which are not imposed equally upon the same products imported from different countries.
  • adjective (Elec.) a galvanometer having two coils or circuits, usually equal, through which currents passing in opposite directions are measured by the difference of their effect upon the needle.
  • adjective a train of toothed wheels, usually an epicyclic train, so arranged as to constitute a differential motion.
  • adjective a mechanism in which a simple differential combination produces such a change of motion or force as would, with ordinary compound arrangements, require a considerable train of parts. It is used for overcoming great resistance or producing very slow or very rapid motion.
  • adjective (Mach.) A hoisting pulley to which power is applied through a differential gearing.
  • adjective a compound screw by which a motion is produced equal to the difference of the motions of the component screws.
  • adjective a thermometer usually with a U-shaped tube terminating in two air bulbs, and containing a colored liquid, used for indicating the difference between the temperatures to which the two bulbs are exposed, by the change of position of the colored fluid, in consequence of the different expansions of the air in the bulbs. A graduated scale is attached to one leg of the tube.
  • adjective a windlass whose barrel has two parts of different diameters. The hoisting rope winds upon one part as it unwinds from the other, and a pulley sustaining the weight to be lifted hangs in the bight of the rope. It is an ancient example of a differential motion.

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

  • adjective of, or relating to a difference
  • adjective dependent on, or making a difference; distinctive
  • adjective having differences in speed or direction of motion
  • adjective mathematics of, or relating to differentiation, or the differential calculus
  • noun the differential gear in an automobile etc
  • noun a qualitative or quantitative difference between similar or comparable things
  • noun mathematics an infinitesimal change in a variable, or the result of differentiation

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

  • adjective involving or containing one or more derivatives
  • noun the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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