differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdi-fə-ˈren(t)-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Definition of differentiate

transitive verb

1 mathematics : to obtain the mathematical derivative (see derivative entry 1 sense 3) of
2 : to mark or show a difference in : constitute a contrasting element that distinguishes features that differentiate the twins how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors
3 : to develop differential or distinguishing characteristics in What differentiated a laborer from another man …— Sherwood Anderson
4 biology : to cause differentiation (see differentiation sense 3b) of in the course of development cells that are differentiated from stem cells
5 : to express the specific distinguishing quality of : discriminate differentiate poetry and prose

intransitive verb

1 : to recognize or give expression to a difference difficult to differentiate between the two
2 : to become distinct or different in character
3 biology : to undergo differentiation (see differentiation sense 3b) when the cells begin to differentiate

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Other Words from differentiate

differentiability \ ˌdi-​fə-​ˌren(t)-​sh(ē-​)ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce differentiability (audio) \ noun
differentiable \ ˌdi-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ē-​)ə-​bəl How to pronounce differentiable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for differentiate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of differentiate in a Sentence

The only thing that differentiates the twins is the color of their eyes. it was hard at first to differentiate between the two styles of music
Recent Examples on the Web Wikelski and his colleagues say their single study could not differentiate all the potential stimuli the animals might react to. Nancy Averett, Scientific American, "Do Animals Really Anticipate Earthquakes? Sensors Hint They Do," 31 July 2020 Smaller competitors, like GoArya, seek to differentiate themselves by scraping data from the internet—including social media profiles—to inform recruiting decisions. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "There’s an AI for every step in the hiring process," 9 July 2020 Erin Pahlke, associate professor of psychology at Whitman College, agrees, noting that kids as young as six months old can differentiate between faces from different racial groups. Heather Greenwood Davis, National Geographic, "Diversifying your home library can help you raise an anti-racist child," 6 July 2020 That’s where the recipes really begin to differentiate themselves. Popular Science, "Almost everything you know about cheese is wrong," 4 June 2020 Whenever a star athlete lands a mega contract, the public scrambles to dissect all of the fine print to differentiate the real money and monopoly money, and to determine whether or not said athlete made a smart decision. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Patrick Mahomes' $503 million extension shows he's on his own level as a quarterback and businessman," 8 July 2020 America has long used science and technology to categorize and differentiate people into hierarchies that, even today, determine who is able and unable, deserving and undeserving, legitimate and criminal. Malkia Devich-cyril, The Atlantic, "Defund Facial Recognition," 5 July 2020 The study did not differentiate among low-risk trips, like going to the park, and higher-risk trips, like going to the grocery store. Lauren Mascarenhas And Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Americans who stayed home before they were told to saved lives, study finds," 1 July 2020 There’s no exact definition of how to differentiate between waves. Dallas News, "Is Texas facing a second coronavirus wave as case numbers climb?," 24 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'differentiate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of differentiate

1814, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for differentiate

probably borrowed from Medieval Latin differentiātus, past participle of differentiāre "to distinguish" (New Latin in mathematical sense), verbal derivative of Latin differentia difference entry 1

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Time Traveler for differentiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of differentiate was in 1814

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Statistics for differentiate

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for differentiate

differentiate

verb
How to pronounce differentiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of differentiate

: to make (someone or something) different in some way
: to see or state the difference or differences between two or more things

differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdi-fə-ˈren-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Kids Definition of differentiate

1 : to make or become different What differentiates the cars?
2 : to recognize or state the difference between I can't differentiate the two colors.

differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdif-ə-ˈren-chē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Medical Definition of differentiate

transitive verb

1 : to constitute a difference that distinguishes the history of the injury also differentiates these two fractures— J. S. Keene et al
2 : to cause differentiation of in the course of development
3 : to discriminate or give expression to a specific difference that distinguishes quickly learned to differentiate sharp pain from dull pain
4 : to cause differentiation in (a specimen for microscopic examination) by staining

intransitive verb

1 : to recognize or express a difference differentiate between humans and the rest of the primates
2 : to undergo differentiation when a B cell matures, it differentiates into a plasma cell that secretes antibodies— R. C. Gallo

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