cor·​re·​la·​tion | \ˌkȯr-ə-ˈlā-shən, ˌkär-\

Definition of correlation 

1 : the state or relation of being correlated specifically : a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone … the obviously high positive correlation between scholastic aptitude and college entrance … — James B. Conant

2 : the act of correlating

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Other Words from correlation

correlational \ˌkȯr-​ə-​ˈlā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl, ˌkär-​ \ adjective

Examples of correlation in a Sentence

the correlation of brain size and intelligence Researchers have found a direct correlation between smoking and lung cancer. She says that there's no correlation between being thin and being happy.
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Recent Examples on the Web

There are also attempts underway to increase the participation of women in corporate boards, largely because a number of studies have found a positive correlation between companies with women on their boards and their financial success. Sean Illing, Vox, "Want less poverty in the world? Empower women.," 5 Nov. 2018 But van Bruggen told Healthline that studies have found correlations between exposure to glyphosate and various diseases. Matthew Berger, Fox News, "Can using weed killer give you cancer?," 27 Aug. 2018 Photo: © stringer shanghai / reuters/Reuters A measure of correlation shows the linkage between the Dow Jones Oil and Gas Titans index and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, remains high but has fallen. Kevin Kingsbury, WSJ, "Energy Shares Shed Crude Relationship With Oil Prices," 20 Nov. 2018 Muehlhauser’s chart suggests a remarkable lack of correlation between those forms of progress and gains in human well-being. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Human history, in one chart," 8 Nov. 2018 But this is about correlation, not causation: Having schizophrenia doesn't inherently make a person dangerous. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Schizophrenia, Which Is Way Too Misunderstood," 15 Sep. 2018 And Bea Feliu-Espada, founder of feminine-care brand The Honey Pot, also sees a correlation with shifting beauty ideals. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Full Bush Is the New Brazilian! How to Transition Like a Pro," 27 July 2018 Her nightmare story is yet another example of the stunningly high correlation between stalking that then escalates to murder., "The Capital Gazette Shooting Is A Tragic Reminder: Take Abuse Of Women Seriously.," 29 June 2018 The evidence for this interpretation consists mostly of county-level correlations between economic and social characteristics and voting behavior. Larry Bartels, Washington Post, "White people get more conservative when they move up — not down — economically. Here’s the evidence.," 14 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'correlation.' 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 correlation

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for correlation

Medieval Latin correlation-, correlatio, from Latin com- + relation-, relatio relation

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for correlation

The first known use of correlation was in 1561

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English Language Learners Definition of correlation

: the relationship between things that happen or change together

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More from Merriam-Webster on correlation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with correlation

Spanish Central: Translation of correlation

Nglish: Translation of correlation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of correlation for Arabic Speakers

Comments on correlation

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


a nest or breeding place

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