Definition of derive
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.
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.
: to have or take origin : come as a derivative The novel's appeal derives entirely from the complexity of its characters.
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.
Origin and Etymology of derive
Middle English, from Anglo-French deriver, from Latin derivare, literally, to draw off (water), from de- + rivus stream — more at run
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of derive
DERIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of derive for English Language Learners
: to take or get (something) from (something else)
: to have something as a source : to come from something
DERIVE Defined for Kids
Definition of derive for Students
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.
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up derive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).