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

  • intransitive verb To constitute the distinction between.
  • intransitive verb To perceive or show the difference in or between; discriminate.
  • intransitive verb To make different by alteration or modification.
  • intransitive verb Mathematics To calculate the derivative or differential of (a function).
  • intransitive verb To become distinct or specialized; acquire a different character.
  • intransitive verb To make distinctions; discriminate.
  • intransitive verb Biology To undergo differentiation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun A differential coefficient.
  • In history and cytology, to reveal or resolve structures in (a cell, tissue, or organ) by treating with some stain or reagent.

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

  • intransitive verb (Biol.) To acquire a distinct and separate character.
  • transitive verb 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 verb 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 verb (Math.) To obtain the differential, or differential coefficient, of.

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

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

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

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


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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