cor·​re·​la·​tion | \ ˌkȯr-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce correlation (audio) , 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 How to pronounce correlational (audio) , -​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 Researchers found a clear correlation between the awareness or general acceptance of wearing a face mask and infection rates. Fox News, "Countries with early adoption of face masks showed modest coronavirus infection rates, researchers say," 26 June 2020 Because there is an inverse correlation between the rise in the Fed’s balance sheet and the velocity of money. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "Fed's aggressive monetary policy behind the stock market rally," 13 July 2020 But once the term was used in a minstrel song, its correlation with racist ideologies became crystal clear, according to Ingram. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "How the term 'Dixie' came to define the South," 27 June 2020 Experts object, however, that this is a correlation without a mechanism. Quanta Magazine, "Why South Asia’s COVID-19 Numbers Are So Low (For Now)," 23 June 2020 The end result is a complex mathematical correlation that can be used to predict future global temperature. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Using past data to predict whether 2020 will be the warmest on record," 19 June 2020 There is also some correlation with the militia movement and survivalists, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League. Sarah Midkiff,, "Who Are The Boogaloo Bois? These Hawaiian Shirt-Wearing, Gun-Toting Americans Want War," 19 June 2020 Any good data scientist will warn you: correlation is not causality. Fortune, "How designers are visualizing America’s failure to cope with COVID-19," 7 July 2020 This correlation is not a coincidence, according to a 2018 research brief by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which advocates for small businesses. Alec Macgillis, ProPublica, "How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing," 29 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for correlation

Time Traveler

The first known use of correlation was in 1561

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Statistics for correlation

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Correlation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for correlation


How to pronounce correlation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of correlation

: the relationship between things that happen or change together

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