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

While correlation does not imply causation, the parallels between Trump’s words and the violent actions that follow are uncanny. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump's Ideology Is Supporting Political Violence," 30 Oct. 2018 Whether this correlation between a father's Civil War experience and his son's mortality is in fact epigenetic cannot be corroborated, since the National Archives don’t contain DNA samples. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Trauma of US Civil War POW experience affected the next generation," 22 Oct. 2018 Newsletter Sign-up In Europe, the correlation between economic catastrophe and support for right-wing populists is weak and perhaps negative. Greg Ip, WSJ, "No, the Financial Crisis Didn’t Spawn Populism," 18 Sep. 2018 Maybe the correlation between presidential and Senate outcomes won't really be there in 2018. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Unpacking the real story behind Republicans' chances at holding the Senate in 2018," 4 June 2018 In Phaidon’s latest hardcover, Green Escapes: The Guide to Secret Urban Gardens, the correlation is not only evident, but necessary. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "7 Secret Gardens Where You Can Find Reprieve in New York City," 22 May 2018 Empirical evidence suggests strong correlations between early childhood poverty and adverse life outcomes, particularly those related to achievement skills and cognitive development. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and," 22 June 2018 There’s a strong correlation between the people who are posting things like false news, and people who are violating these other types of policies. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Wants to Improve the Quality of Your News Feed," 23 May 2018 The study, published yesterday in Nature Communications, finds a strong correlation between unusually warm episodes in the Arctic and extreme winter weather in the eastern United States. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Arctic Warm Spells Linked to Nasty Winter Weather on East Coast," 14 Mar. 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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Statistics for correlation

Last Updated

16 Nov 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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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).


by force of circumstances

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