1

differential

play
adjective dif·fer·en·tial \ˌdi-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl\

Definition of differential

  1. 1a :  of, relating to, or constituting a difference :  distinguishing differential characteristicsb :  making a distinction between individuals or classes differential tax ratesc :  based on or resulting from a differentiald :  functioning or proceeding differently or at a different rate differential melting

  2. 2 mathematics :  being, relating to, or involving a differential (see 2differential 1) or differentiation

  3. 3 physics a :  relating to quantitative differences (as of motion or pressure)b :  producing effects by reason of quantitative differences

differentially

play \-ˈren(t)-shə-lē\ adverb

Examples of differential in a sentence

  1. did away with differential pay scales for men and women doing the same work

Origin and Etymology of differential

see 1different


First Known Use: 1615


2

differential

noun dif·fer·en·tial

Definition of differential

  1. 1 mathematics a :  the product (see product 1) of the derivative of a function of one variable by the increment of the independent variableb :  a sum of products in which each product consists of a partial derivative of a given function of several variables multiplied by the corresponding increment and which contains as many products as there are independent variables in the function

  2. 2 :  a difference between comparable individuals or classes a price differential; also :  the amount of such a difference

  3. 3a :  a drivetrain gear assembly connecting two collinear shafts or axles (as those of the rear wheels of an automobile) and permitting one shaft to revolve faster than the other a locking rear differentialb :  a case covering such an assembly

Origin and Etymology of differential

see 1different


First Known Use: 1871

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


DIFFERENTIAL Defined for English Language Learners

1

differential

play
adjective dif·fer·en·tial \ˌdi-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl\

Definition of differential for English Language Learners

  • : relating to or based on a difference : treating some people or groups differently from others


2

differential

noun dif·fer·en·tial

Definition of differential for English Language Learners

  • : a difference between people or things

  • : a gear or an arrangement of gears in a vehicle that allows one wheel to turn faster than another when the vehicle is going around a curve


Medical Dictionary

differential

play
adjective dif·fer·en·tial \ˌdif-ə-ˈren-chəl\

Medical Definition of differential

  1. 1:  of, relating to, or constituting a difference differential birth rates in different economic levels

  2. 2:  making a distinction between individuals or classes differential cell counts differential staining

differentially

\-ˈrench-(ə-)lē\play adverb


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up differential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a mode of satirical wit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ