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From differentiate +‎ -ion, from different +‎ -iate, from differ +‎ -ent, from Middle English differen, from Old French differer, from Latin differō (carry apart, put off, defer; differ), from dis- (apart) + ferō (carry, bear); cognate with Ancient Greek διαφέρω (diaphérō, to differ).


  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


differentiation (countable and uncountable, plural differentiations)

  1. The act or process of differentiating (generally, without a specialized sense).
    1. The act of treating one thing as distinct from another, or of creating such a distinction; of separating a class of things into categories; of describing a thing by illustrating how it is different from something else.
    2. The process of developing distinct components.
  2. (biology) The process by which the components of multicellular life (cells, organs, etc.) are produced and acquire function, as when a seed develops the root and stem, and the initial stem develops the leaf, branches, and flower buds.
  3. (biology, evolution) The evolutionary process by which one taxonomic group (species, genus, variety, etc.) becomes distinct from another, or acquires distinct features; the result of such a process: distinctness.
  4. (geology) The process of separation of cooling magma into various rock types.
  5. (mathematics, calculus) The process of applying the derivative operator to a function; of calculating a function's derivative.

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