derivative

1 of 2

noun

de·​riv·​a·​tive di-ˈri-və-tiv How to pronounce derivative (audio)
1
linguistics : a word formed from another word or base : a word formed by derivation
"pointy," "pointed," and other derivatives of "point"
2
: something derived
… the sonata form (itself a derivative of opera) …Kingsley Martin
the name "Mia" is a derivative of "Maria"
3
mathematics : the limit of the ratio of the change in a function to the corresponding change in its independent variable as the latter change approaches zero
4
chemistry
a
: a chemical substance related structurally to another substance and theoretically derivable from it
b
: a substance that can be made from another substance
Petroleum is a derivative of coal tar.
soybean derivatives
5
: a contract or security (see security sense 3) that derives its value from that of an underlying asset (such as another security) or from the value of a rate (as of interest or currency exchange) or index (see index entry 1 sense 1b) of asset value (such as a stock index)

derivative

2 of 2

adjective

1
linguistics : formed from another word or base : formed by derivation
a derivative word
2
: having parts that originate from another source : made up of or marked by derived elements
a derivative philosophy
3
: lacking originality : banal
a derivative performance
a film using a derivative plot device
derivatively adverb
derivativeness noun

Examples of derivative in a Sentence

Noun The word “childish” is a derivative of “child.” Tofu is one of many soybean derivatives. Petroleum is a derivative of coal tar. Adjective A number of critics found the film derivative and predictable. His style seems too derivative of Hemingway.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Part of the increase was driven by new players: Weather derivatives contracts aren’t just for energy firms and big institutional players. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 8 May 2024 American political portraits were ideological derivatives of the portraits Europeans commissioned of their rulers. TIME, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for derivative 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'derivative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

see derive

Adjective

see derive

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of derivative was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near derivative

Cite this Entry

“Derivative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/derivative. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

derivative

1 of 2 noun
de·​riv·​a·​tive di-ˈriv-ət-iv How to pronounce derivative (audio)
1
: a word formed by derivation
the word "kindness" is a derivative of "kind"
2
: something derived
3
: a substance that can be made from another substance in one or more steps
a derivative of coal tar

derivative

2 of 2 adjective
1
: formed by derivation
2
: made up of or having elements derived from something else
derivative poetry

Medical Definition

derivative

1 of 2 adjective
de·​riv·​a·​tive di-ˈriv-ət-iv How to pronounce derivative (audio)
1
: formed by derivation
2
: made up of or marked by derived elements

derivative

2 of 2 noun
1
: something that is obtained from, grows out of, or results from an earlier or more fundamental state or condition
2
a
: a chemical substance related structurally to another substance and theoretically derivable from it
b
: a substance that can be made from another substance

Legal Definition

derivative

1 of 2 noun
de·​riv·​a·​tive də-ˈri-və-tiv How to pronounce derivative (audio)
: a contract or security that derives its value from that of an underlying asset (as another security) or from the value of a rate (as of interest or currency exchange) or index of asset value (as a stock index)

Note: Derivatives often take the form of customized contracts transacted outside of security exchanges, while other contracts, such as standard index options and futures, are openly traded on such exchanges. Derivatives often involve a forward contract.

derivative

2 of 2 adjective
1
: arising out of or dependent on the existence of something else compare direct
2
: of, relating to, or being a derivative
a derivative transaction
derivatively adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on derivative

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