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

  • n. The act of varying.
  • n. The state or quality of being variant or variable; a variation.
  • n. A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.
  • n. The state or fact of differing or of being in conflict. See Synonyms at discord.
  • n. Law A discrepancy between two statements or documents in a proceeding.
  • n. Law License to engage in an act contrary to a usual rule: a zoning variance.
  • n. Statistics The square of the standard deviation.
  • n. Chemistry The number of thermodynamic variables, such as temperature and pressure, required to specify a state of equilibrium of a system, given by the phase rule.
  • idiom at variance In a state of discrepancy; differing: The facts are at variance with your story.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of varying or the state of being variable
  • n. A difference between what is expected and what happens
  • n. The state of differing or being in conflict
  • n. A discrepancy, especially between two legal documents
  • n. The second central moment in probability
  • n. covariance and contravariance generally

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being variant; change of condition; variation.
  • n. Difference that produces dispute or controversy; disagreement; dissension; discord; dispute; quarrel.
  • n. A disagreement or difference between two parts of the same legal proceeding, which, to be effectual, ought to agree, -- as between the writ and the declaration, or between the allegation and the proof.
  • n. The expected value of the square of the deviation from the mean of a randomly distributed variable; the second moment about the mean. This is also the square of the standard deviation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In physical chemistry, that property of a chemical system which is expressed by the equation V = c + 2 — φ, where V is the variance, c the number of independent components, and φ the number of phases in which the system may exist. Systems are said to be invariant, univariant, bivariant, multivariant, etc., according to the value of V.
  • n. The state of being or the act of becoming variant; alteration; variation; change; difference.
  • n. In law, a discrepancy: Between pleadings and proof, as where a complaint mentions a wrong date, or the facts prove to be different from what was alleged.
  • n. Between the form of the writ or process by which the action was commenced and the form of the declaration or complaint.
  • n. Difference that produces disagreement or controversy; dispute; dissension; discord.
  • n. Variableness; inconstancy.
  • n. In a state of controversy or dissension; in a state of opposition or enmity.
  • n. Synonyms and Disagreement, etc. See difference.

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

  • n. discord that splits a group
  • n. the second moment around the mean; the expected value of the square of the deviations of a random variable from its mean value
  • n. an official dispensation to act contrary to a rule or regulation (typically a building regulation)
  • n. the quality of being subject to variation
  • n. a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions
  • n. an event that departs from expectations
  • n. an activity that varies from a norm or standard


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French variance.


  • Perhaps the matter in variance is a secret, not fit to be divulged to any, much less to be brought upon the stage before the country; and therefore end it privately, that it may not be discovered.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • Looking at the bottom graph, it appears the variance is a bit less than 5%.

    Matthew Yglesias » Elections Getting Duller

  • If an exception or variance is needed, then the rules need changing.

    Trust me (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • The hypothesis would assert that substantial local variance is deliberate.

    Wolfram Blog : Flag Analysis with Mathematica

  • The Planning Board can not do that, any variance from the rules would have to come through the ZBA, but would probably be hard to get.

    Robert E wyman

  • And you don't have to assume any large difference in variance between the male and female population's abilities.

    Gender Differences, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Everywhere homosexuality and gender variance is being discriminated against; in more that 80 countries in the world, same sex relationships are criminalised and in 7 of them, death penalty can be enforced.

    May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

  • Another factor could be the difference in variance in talents within the genders.

    All else being equal.

  • The King County Health Department recently notified restaurants that the sous vide process — cooking vacuum-sealed food in water baths at low, precisely-controlled temperatures — requires a variance from the health department, as well as an approvedHazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan, a detailed food safety plan more commonly seen in large-scale or industrial operations.

    Sous Vide? So illegal

  • In attempting to explain this disparity, some echo Justice Kennedy's language in the recent Supreme Court decision Gonzales v. Carhart and claim that the reason for this variance is that there is a special bond between a mother and child and women can't help but stay at home with their children.

    Finding Balance


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  • "Well said, then this is thy trial: Instead of carrying

    the King's letters to my father, carry thou these letters to my

    sister, which contain matter quite contrary to the other:

    there shall she be given to understand, that my father hath

    detracted her, given out slanderous speeches against her; and

    that he hath most intolerably abused me, set my Lord and

    me at variance, and made mutinies amongst the commons."

    - anon., 'King Leir'.

    October 25, 2008