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

  • adjective Differing from others of the same kind or from a standard.
  • adjective Having or exhibiting variation; varying.
  • noun Something that differs from others of the same kind or from a standard, as a different spelling or pronunciation of a word.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • Different; diverse; having a different form or character: as, a variant form or spelling of a word.
  • Variable; varying; changing; inconstant.
  • Unsettled; restless.
  • noun 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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