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

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.

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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

The cosmetics company behind brands including MAC and Tom Ford derives about 70% of sales from outside North America. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "The Hong Kong Protests Are Already Having an Impact on Estée Lauder," 17 Sep. 2019 Olin derives 10% of its revenue from bullets, including rounds such as the PDX1 Defender that's designed to penetrate vital organs and cause maximum blood loss. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "In epidemic of mass shootings, ammunition makers dodge blame," 12 Sep. 2019 The inspiration for the collection derives from the artist's admiration for the brand's heritage, and each item is one of a kind. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Nicole McLaughlin Created a Sustainable Collection of Footwear and Accessories for Reebok," 10 Sep. 2019 But in comeback mode, your playbook shrinks, and offensive rhythm derives more from what happens after the snap. Andy Benoit,, "The Highs and Lows of the Kyler-Kingsbury Debut," 9 Sep. 2019 Its high precision derives from a design that isolates the atoms from all forces except gravity, in part by keeping the particles in vacuum near absolute zero. Wired, "Scientists Watch Atoms Fall to See Earth's Changing Structure," 3 Sep. 2019 The Nordic diet derives 50 percent of calories from carbs, 25 percent from protein, and 25 percent from fat. Carrie Dennett, Washington Post, "Herring and pumpernickel, anyone? Try the Nordic diet.," 12 Aug. 2019 City Council can amend some of the conditions but, as Ward 4 Councilwoman Jane Goodman pointed out, some of the text of the conditions derives from Law Director Michael Lograsso’s negotiations with the developer’s lawyers., "South Euclid Burger King drive-thru still faces roadblocks," 30 July 2019 Her inspiration derives from her experience of seasonal challenges from spring preparation to final harvest in her garden, backyard woodlands or the 4H Farm., "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 6 July 2019

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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Statistics for derive

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for derive

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

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More Definitions for derive



English Language Learners Definition of derive

: to take or get (something) from (something else)
: to have something as a source : to come from something


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 derivation (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on derive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with derive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for derive

Spanish Central: Translation of derive

Nglish: Translation of derive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of derive for Arabic Speakers

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