noun \di-ˈri-və-tiv\

: a word formed from another word

: something that comes from something else : a substance that is made from another substance

Full Definition of DERIVATIVE

:  a word formed by derivation
:  something derived
:  the limit of the ratio of the change in a function to the corresponding change in its independent variable as the latter change approaches zero
a :  a chemical substance related structurally to another substance and theoretically derivable from it
b :  a substance that can be made from another substance
:  a contract or security that derives its value from that of an underlying asset (as another security) or from the value of a rate (as of interest or currency exchange) or index of asset value (as a stock index)

Examples of DERIVATIVE

  1. The word childish is a derivative of child.
  2. Tofu is one of many soybean derivatives.
  3. Petroleum is a derivative of coal tar.

First Known Use of DERIVATIVE

15th century



: made up of parts from something else : not new or original

: formed from another word

Full Definition of DERIVATIVE

:  formed by derivation <a derivative word>
:  made up of or marked by derived elements
:  lacking originality :  banal
de·riv·a·tive·ly adverb
de·riv·a·tive·ness noun

Examples of DERIVATIVE

  1. A number of critics found the film derivative and predictable.
  2. His style seems too derivative of Hemingway.

First Known Use of DERIVATIVE

circa 1530



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In mathematics, a fundamental concept of differential calculus representing the instantaneous rate of change of a function. The first derivative of a function is a function whose values can be interpreted as slopes of tangent lines to the graph of the original function at a given point. The derivative of a derivative (known as the second derivative) describes the rate of change of the rate of change, and can be thought of physically as acceleration. The process of finding a derivative is called differentiation.


Next Word in the Dictionary: derivative action
Previous Word in the Dictionary: derivationist
All Words Near: derivative

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up derivative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More