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

  • 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.
  • intransitive v. To acquire a distinct and separate character.

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.
  • n. 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 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


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



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