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 What differentiates this sneaker from the rest is a special foam cushioning element dubbed Helion, which helps your feet rebound upon impact. Christie Calucchia, Health.com, "The On Cloudflow Running Shoes Are so Lightweight, You’ll Think You’re Barefoot," 3 Dec. 2019 So what differentiates a satisfying level from a frustrating one? Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "A Nintendo designer reviews your Super Mario Maker 2 levels," 19 Nov. 2019 What differentiates physical from mathematical objects or a simulation from the original system? George Musser, Scientific American, "The Search for Truth in Physics," 25 Aug. 2019 Another 70 will be struggling with suicidal thoughts but have made no attempts, a group that could help researchers understand what differentiates teens who put thoughts into action from teens who don't. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Suicide attempts are hard to anticipate. A study that tracks teens’ cellphone use aims to change that," 21 Aug. 2019 What differentiates hemp from its cohort marijuana is the amount of euphoria-inducing THC. Dara Kam, orlandosentinel.com, "Hemp’s healing potential has Florida farmers high on the now-legal crop," 26 July 2019 Or at least, never to express opinions that might differentiate you from a doormat. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Decade of Enduring Male Fragility," 27 Dec. 2019 One key detail that differentiates the home from a classic farmhouse, Curtis points out, is its use of a distinctive wood treatment known as Shou Sugi Ban on the exterior. Sarah Cook Mcbride, al, "East meets West in this modern, forested farmhouse," 21 Dec. 2019 Jumping between Hallmark and Lifetime channels, there’s little that differentiates between the two. Jessica Klein, Fortune, "‘Tis the Season for Holiday Movies—and Hallmark and Lifetime Aren’t Afraid of Netflix," 17 Dec. 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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiated. Accessed 19 January 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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