differentiate

verb dif·fer·en·ti·ate \ ˌdif-ə-ˈren(t)-shē-ˌāt \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of differentiate

differentiated; differentiating
transitive verb
1 mathematics : to obtain the mathematical derivative (see 1derivative 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 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 3b)
  • when the cells begin to differentiate

differentiability

play \-ˌren(t)-sh(ē-)ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

differentiable

play \-ˈren(t)-sh(ē-)ə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of differentiate in a Sentence

  1. The only thing that differentiates the twins is the color of their eyes.

  2. it was hard at first to differentiate between the two styles of music

Recent Examples of differentiate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of differentiate

differentiate Synonyms


DIFFERENTIATE Defined for English Language Learners

differentiate

verb

Definition of differentiate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone or something) different in some way

  • : to see or state the difference or differences between two or more things


DIFFERENTIATE Defined for Kids

differentiate

verb dif·fer·en·ti·ate \ ˌdi-fə-ˈren-shē-ˌāt \

Definition of differentiate for Students

differentiated; differentiating
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.

Medical Dictionary

differentiate

verb dif·fer·en·ti·ate \ ˌdif-ə-ˈren-chē-ˌāt \

medical Definition of differentiate

differentiated; differentiating
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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