differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdi-fə-ˈren(t)-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Definition of differentiate

transitive verb

1 mathematics : to obtain the mathematical derivative (see derivative entry 1 sense 3) of
2 : to mark or show a difference in : constitute a contrasting element that distinguishes features that differentiate the twins how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors
3 : to develop differential or distinguishing characteristics in What differentiated a laborer from another man …— Sherwood Anderson
4 biology : to cause differentiation (see differentiation sense 3b) of in the course of development cells that are differentiated from stem cells
5 : to express the specific distinguishing quality of : discriminate differentiate poetry and prose

intransitive verb

1 : to recognize or give expression to a difference difficult to differentiate between the two
2 : to become distinct or different in character
3 biology : to undergo differentiation (see differentiation sense 3b) when the cells begin to differentiate

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Other Words from differentiate

differentiability \ ˌdi-​fə-​ˌren(t)-​sh(ē-​)ə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce differentiability (audio) \ noun
differentiable \ ˌdi-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ē-​)ə-​bəl How to pronounce differentiable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for differentiate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of differentiate in a Sentence

The only thing that differentiates the twins is the color of their eyes. it was hard at first to differentiate between the two styles of music
Recent Examples on the Web After getting involved with surfers, the more free-spirited Poppy differentiates herself more and more from the family. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee is a leading character in Christina Clancy's novel 'The Second Home'," 1 June 2020 Discrimination did not differentiate between ethnic sub-groups. Anna Purna Kambhampaty, Time, "In 1968, These Activists Coined the Term 'Asian American'—And Helped Shape Decades of Advocacy," 22 May 2020 That differentiates it from a very similar unmanned craft called the Valkyrie, made by Kratos. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Boeing’s new autonomous fighter jet has a pop-off, swappable nose," 15 May 2020 Calling into Zoom with a surprising new facial feature or a funny backdrop can differentiate a day from the one before. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "These Are Boom Times for Augmented Reality," 11 May 2020 Further Reading Intel’s line of notebook CPUs gets more confusing with 14nm Comet Lake Like its predecessors, the Surface Book 3 is differentiated from other Surface devices by its support for dedicated graphics cards. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Microsoft unveils a ton of new Surface devices, including the Surface Book 3," 6 May 2020 Different species of birds are differentiated as much by proportions as by exterior coating of color and pattern. New York Times, "Frequently Asked Questions and Advice," 11 Apr. 2020 Quibi is differentiated not by its originality but its cynicism—its ruthless pursuit of one of the few parts of our lives that aren’t spent at home or at work. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Don’t Blame the Coronavirus for Quibi’s Failure," 13 May 2020 France’s plan will be progressive and differentiated. Arne Delfs, Bloomberg.com, "France Eases Lockdown in Europe’s Bid to Stem Economic Pain," 10 May 2020

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

1814, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for differentiate

probably borrowed from Medieval Latin differentiātus, past participle of differentiāre "to distinguish" (New Latin in mathematical sense), verbal derivative of Latin differentia difference entry 1

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Time Traveler for differentiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of differentiate was in 1814

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Statistics for differentiate

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for differentiate

differentiate

verb
How to pronounce differentiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of differentiate

: to make (someone or something) different in some way
: to see or state the difference or differences between two or more things

differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdi-fə-ˈren-shē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Kids Definition of differentiate

1 : to make or become different What differentiates the cars?
2 : to recognize or state the difference between I can't differentiate the two colors.

differentiate

verb
dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​ate | \ ˌdif-ə-ˈren-chē-ˌāt How to pronounce differentiate (audio) \
differentiated; differentiating

Medical Definition of differentiate

transitive verb

1 : to constitute a difference that distinguishes the history of the injury also differentiates these two fractures— J. S. Keene et al
2 : to cause differentiation of in the course of development
3 : to discriminate or give expression to a specific difference that distinguishes quickly learned to differentiate sharp pain from dull pain
4 : to cause differentiation in (a specimen for microscopic examination) by staining

intransitive verb

1 : to recognize or express a difference differentiate between humans and the rest of the primates
2 : to undergo differentiation when a B cell matures, it differentiates into a plasma cell that secretes antibodies— R. C. Gallo

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