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 Arizona cypress is available in several selections generally differentiated by foliage color. Calvin Finch, ExpressNews.com, "The best living evergreen Christmas trees you can plant later in your San Antonio garden," 28 Nov. 2019 Real evidence from within pre-Conquest England reveals that the term was used almost exclusively in Latin charters, legal documents and early kings’ titles to differentiate the Saxons who lived in England from the Saxons of the continent. Matthew Gabriele, Time, "The Middle Ages Have Been Misused by the Far Right. Here’s Why It’s So Important to Get Medieval History Right," 21 Nov. 2019 Anything that would deter or differentiate from that is a risk for them. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Doctors said her daughter had no chance of recovery. Then, Lakeisha Cherry got better.," 19 Nov. 2019 The results showed that the dogs were 97 percent accurate with differentiating the samples. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Wisconsin Woman Says Her Dog Detected Her Ovarian Cancer 4 Separate Times by Sniffing Her Belly," 19 Nov. 2019 Whatever differentiates the many protests around the world in recent months, most have faced this tactic from the authorities. The Economist, "A crying shame Banned in warfare, is tear-gas too readily used to control crowds?," 12 Nov. 2019 Tattooing seems to exert a priming effect: That’s what biologists call it when naive immune cells are exposed to their specific antigen and differentiate into antibodies that remain in the bloodstream for many years. Christopher D. Lynn, The Conversation, "Untangling tattoos’ influence on immune response," 2 Oct. 2019 Currently, there are three levels of service available at the homes, differentiated by the amount of medical care required by the individual resident. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "State presses ahead to sharply increase Pioneer Home prices Sept. 1," 2 Aug. 2019 Graphics frequencies will hover right around 1GHz, with 32, 48 and 64 EUs differentiating performance. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel launches 10th-gen 'Ice Lake' chips, pushing hard on graphics for notebook PCs," 1 Aug. 2019

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 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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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Comments on differentiate

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