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 So how can fans differentiate a dumb penalty from an aggressive one? Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Mel Tucker draws the line on 'dumb' vs. 'aggressive' for Michigan State football," 10 Dec. 2020 So how does this new HBO thing differentiate itself? Julie Muncy, Wired, "The Last of Us Is Getting a TV Show, Which Seems Redundant," 25 Nov. 2020 For many, Friday’s game will differentiate whether BYU is truly a contender or just a pretender. Norma Gonzalez, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Eye on the Y: Buckle up. The BYU-Boise State game looks to be a grind.," 5 Nov. 2020 Does the Series X differentiate itself enough to justify the price tag? Shannon Liao, CNN, "Xbox Series X review: Wait for 'Halo Infinite'," 5 Nov. 2020 Clothes immediately differentiate the rich and poor. Martha Cheng, WSJ, "Elena Ferrante’s ‘My Brilliant Friend” Is Like a Trip to Naples. Only Better," 25 Sep. 2020 For Christopher Hahn, the host of the Aggressive Progressive Podcast and a former Democratic strategist, Trump's shadow over November plus Biden and Sanders's warmer relationship differentiate this cycle from the past. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Four years later, Trump heals rift between establishment Democrats and Sanders base," 15 Aug. 2020 Ohio State does not differentiate between injury, illness, positive test for coronavirus or other reasons on its status report. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Which Ohio State players are out against Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship?," 12 Jan. 2021 The previous definitions, published in April, did not differentiate how to interpret antigen and PCR tests. Dallas News, "Why doesn’t Texas report probable coronavirus cases?," 10 Nov. 2020

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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 6 Mar. 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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