de·​rive | \ di-ˈrīv How to pronounce derive (audio) , dē- \
derived; deriving

Essential Meaning of derive

1 : to take or get (something) from (something else) The river derives its name from a Native American tribe. She derived [=received, took] great satisfaction from their friendship.
2 : to have something as a source : to come from something Much of the book's appeal derives from the personality of its central character.

Full Definition of derive

transitive verb

1a : to take, receive, or obtain especially from a specified source is said to derive its name from a Native American word meaning "wild onion"
b chemistry : to obtain (a chemical substance) actually or theoretically from a parent substance Petroleum is derived from coal tar.
2 : infer, deduce what was derived from their observations
3 archaic : bring … inconvenience that will be derived to them from stopping all imports …— Thomas Jefferson
4 : to trace the derivation of We can derive the word "chauffeur" from French.

intransitive verb

: to have or take origin : come as a derivative The novel's appeal derives entirely from the complexity of its characters.

Other Words from derive

deriver noun

Choose the Right Synonym for derive

spring, arise, rise, originate, derive, flow, issue, emanate, proceed, stem mean to come up or out of something into existence. spring implies rapid or sudden emerging. an idea that springs to mind arise and rise may both convey the fact of coming into existence or notice but rise often stresses gradual growth or ascent. new questions have arisen slowly rose to prominence originate implies a definite source or starting point. the fire originated in the basement derive implies a prior existence in another form. the holiday derives from an ancient Roman feast flow adds to spring a suggestion of abundance or ease of inception. words flowed easily from her pen issue suggests emerging from confinement through an outlet. blood issued from the cut emanate applies to the coming of something immaterial (such as a thought) from a source. reports emanating from the capital proceed stresses place of origin, derivation, parentage, or logical cause. advice that proceeds from the best of intentions stem implies originating by dividing or branching off from something as an outgrowth or subordinate development. industries stemming from space research

Examples of derive in a Sentence

The river derives its name from a Native American tribe. Much of the book's appeal derives from the personality of its central character.
Recent Examples on the Web From this, the researchers derive two additional scores. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 12 Jan. 2022 For-profit higher education is a world of large companies that derive most of their income—upward of seventy-five per cent, typically—from government subsidies. James Lardner, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2021 The reason for this strength will likely derive from foreign money seeking refuge in America. Bill Sarubbi, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 People derive a lot of happiness from anticipating positive experiences and planning for them, effectively placing themselves in a better future of their own making. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 23 Dec. 2021 Wearables will derive blood pressure – and, someday, glucose – by monitoring elements of blood flow using LEDs, sensors and AI. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2021 And, yes, fans derive some value from owning their favorite creator/IP’s NFT, although minimal. Quartz, 12 Nov. 2021 In our view, these opportunities exist for traditional E-tailers and other companies that derive revenues from their role in the overall E-commerce ecosystem, such as payment providers, Industrial REITs, and air freight & logistics firms. Kevin Mahn, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 Bugg said during discussion at the Rules, Administration and Procedures Committee there was a thought that vaping shops could be considered those that derive more than 50% of their revenue stream from vaping or alternative products. Steve Lord,, 9 Dec. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for derive

Middle English, from Anglo-French deriver, from Latin derivare, literally, to draw off (water), from de- + rivus stream — more at run

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Time Traveler for derive

Time Traveler

The first known use of derive was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Derive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for derive


de·​rive | \ di-ˈrīv How to pronounce derive (audio) \
derived; deriving

Kids Definition of derive

1 : to take or get from a source I derive great pleasure from reading.
2 : to come from a certain source Some modern holidays derive from ancient traditions.
3 : to trace the origin or source of We derive the word "cherry" from a French word.


de·​rive | \ di-ˈrīv How to pronounce derive (audio) \
derived; deriving

Medical Definition of derive

transitive verb

: to take, receive, or obtain, especially from a specified source specifically : to obtain (a chemical substance) actually or theoretically from a parent substance

intransitive verb

: to have or take origin

Other Words from derive

derivation \ ˌder-​ə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce derive (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on derive

Nglish: Translation of derive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derive for Arabic Speakers


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