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 differentiate (audio) \ noun
differentiable \ ˌdi-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ē-​)ə-​bəl How to pronounce differentiate (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 To begin to answer these questions, a necessary first step is to differentiate between something that is complicated from something that is complex. Gabriel A. Silva, Forbes, "What The Human Brain And Ants Have In Common," 19 Apr. 2021 There are actually 9 species of blue-eyed grass that are found in Arkansas, and the species are hard to differentiate. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "Four new mystery plants revealed this week," 18 Apr. 2021 Here are four ways to differentiate between a migraine and stroke. Janissa Delzo, SELF, "4 Major Differences Between Strokes and Migraines," 2 Apr. 2021 Alpina has never seen reason to differentiate between luxury and high-performance vehicles, and that’s no less true of its latest confection. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "The New 612 HP BMW Alpina B8 Gran Coupé Is as Powerful as It Is Luxurious," 25 Mar. 2021 Public health officials expect those numbers to rise as the state bolsters its capacity for genomic sequencing, the testing necessary to differentiate between coronavirus strains. Alex Mann, baltimoresun.com, "Where does Maryland stand a year after COVID arrived? Pandemic may end soon, but keep your mask on.," 5 Mar. 2021 Council members Jeremy Schroeder and Cam Gordon asked about standards for using less-lethal weapons, while Steve Fletcher asked whether officers received training to differentiate between peaceful protesters and extremists seeking to cause havoc. Liz Navratil, Star Tribune, "Planned police presence during Derek Chauvin trial draws criticism from some Minneapolis leaders," 2 Mar. 2021 Teams do not always explain why players are absent, or even differentiate between illness and injury. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "With Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz’s positive rapid test for COVID-19, Big Ten plan faces early scrutiny," 25 Oct. 2020 In normal mouse pregnancies, when the embryo implants in the wall of the uterus, the placenta starts to form, and the embryo’s cells start to differentiate into more specific types of stem cells that will form different tissues. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "Mouse embryos grown in bottles form organs and limbs," 17 Mar. 2021

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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for differentiate

differentiate

verb

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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Comments on differentiate

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