der·​i·​va·​tion | \ ˌder-ə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce derivation (audio) , ˌde-rə- \

Definition of derivation

1 linguistics
a(1) : the formation of a word from another word or base (as by the addition of a usually noninflectional affix) "Strategize" was formed by derivation from "strategy."
(2) : an act of ascertaining or stating the derivation of a word
(3) : etymology sense 1 research into the derivation of "Yankee"
b : the relation of a word to its base or root (see root entry 1 sense 6)
2a : source, origin foods of French derivation
b : descent, origination derivation from royal ancestors
3 : something that originates from something else : something derived : derivative more like an exact copy than a derivation
4 : an act or process of deriving debating the possible derivation of birds from dinosaurs
5 logic : a sequence of statements showing that a result is a necessary consequence of previously accepted statements

Other Words from derivation

derivational \ ˌder-​ə-​ˈvā-​shnəl How to pronounce derivation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , ˌde-​rə-​ \ adjective
… subjects' ability to auditorily recognize the correct form of derivational relationships where consonant and vowel alternation occurs. — Robert A. Barganz
derivationally adverb
derivationally related words

Synonyms & Antonyms for derivation



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Examples of derivation in a Sentence

He is doing research into the derivation of “Yankee.” “Childish” was formed by derivation from “child.” Scientists are debating the possible derivation of birds from dinosaurs.
Recent Examples on the Web The Perseids are also known for their fireballs, making the stars appear brighter and faster compared to the average meteor streak due to its derivation from larger particles of cometary material. Skyler Caruso,, 21 July 2022 Decision-makers need to be much better equipped to maximize value derivation from the manufacturing process. Mykola Striletskyi, Forbes, 21 June 2022 The album’s title, Viajante (a derivation of traveler), explains it. Leila Cobo, Billboard, 28 Apr. 2022 But how to keep the project from feeling like a copy of a copy, a derivation of something that was already loudly, intentionally derivative? David Sims, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2022 But released into a country changed by the racial reckonings of the 2020s, the derivation of the beloved '90s show is filled with discussions about race, gender and sexuality. NBC News, 12 Jan. 2022 The forest, whose name is a Spanish derivation of an Indigenous Taino word, offers one of the most diverse ecosystems in the network, with wildlife including the famed Coqui frog, the island’s unofficial symbol. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 Here two most famous red wines are Veneroso - a derivation of the family name - and Nambrot, which was the first name of the founder of the family. Tom Hyland, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 The performance levels these platforms are capable of returning come from their special sauce, which include derivation of psychological and emotional factors by holding users captive on their platforms. Hessie Jones, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of derivation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for derivation

see derive

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The first known use of derivation was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Derivation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for derivation


der·​i·​va·​tion | \ ˌder-ə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce derivation (audio) \

Kids Definition of derivation

1 : the formation of a word from an earlier word or root
2 : etymology
3 : origin sense 1, source She enjoys foods of Mexican derivation.
4 : an act or process by which one thing is formed from another

More from Merriam-Webster on derivation

Nglish: Translation of derivation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derivation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about derivation


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