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

  • adj. Having or exhibiting variation; differing.
  • adj. Tending or liable to vary; variable.
  • adj. Deviating from a standard, usually by only a slight difference.
  • n. Something that differs in form only slightly from something else, as a different spelling or pronunciation of the same word.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Showing variety, diverse.
  • adj. Showing deviation or disagreement.
  • adj. Variable.
  • n. Something that is slightly different from a type or norm.
  • n. A different sequence of a gene (locus).
  • n. A variable that can hold any of various unrelated data types.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Varying in form, character, or the like; variable; different; diverse.
  • adj. Changeable; changing; fickle.
  • n. Something which differs in form from another thing, though really the same

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Different; diverse; having a different form or character: as, a variant form or spelling of a word.
  • Variable; varying; changing; inconstant.
  • Unsettled; restless.
  • n. Something that is substantially the same, though in a different form; in ctym., a variant form or spelling of the same original word; in lit, a different reading or spelling.
  • n. In biology, a term introduced by Barrande to express a departure from the type of a species showing contemporaneous secondary modification of form and surface features, and contrasted with the variety, in which the principal characters of the species are retained accompanied by departures in one or more primary modifications. The distinction is obscure and has not been generally adopted.

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

  • n. a variable quantity that is random
  • n. something a little different from others of the same type
  • adj. exhibiting variation and change
  • adj. differing from a norm or standard
  • n. (biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups
  • n. an event that departs from expectations


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

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin variāns, variant-, present participle of variāre, to vary; see vary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Recorded since c.1380, from Old French variant, from Latin variāns, the present active participle of variō ("to change").



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  • A copy of a book that varies in some way from the ideal copy. Can refer to binding color, illustrations, and so on.

    February 22, 2007