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

difference, discern, discriminate, distinguish, secern, separate

Antonyms

confuse, mistake, mix (up)

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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

The report notes that, based on its programming features, emergency Priority 1 calls are not differentiated from Priority 2 calls (non-emergencies). cleveland.com, "Serious crime decreases by 32 percent in University Heights," 14 June 2019 Google has made a point in recent years of differentiating the Pixel by sticking with a single rear camera, yet still managing to pull off impressive tricks like portrait mode shots. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Everything we think we know about the Pixel 4, from Google’s Pixel 4 reveal," 13 June 2019 With a large group of candidates, all with broadly similar messages, struggling to break out of the single digits, Biden’s personality-driven, conservative approach appears to differentiate his brand. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Winning the Battle of Ideas, But Could Still Lose the War," 10 June 2019 People who are able to differentiate their negative emotions are better at regulating and managing them, according to science. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Get Out of a Bad Mood," 28 May 2019 If anything, Su said later, the challenge is to differentiate Threadripper as the core count within the 3rd-gen Ryzen chips continues to climb. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "AMD CEO confirms Threadripper is alive, well, and 'moving up'," 26 May 2019 That led to Arc’teryx employees making tools in the woodshop to test product, and then comes the final design—from zipper seams to zipper pulls and hood design to underarm fabrics—all packaged together and differentiated for sizing. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Everything That Goes Into Making an Arc'teryx Jacket," 24 May 2019 The system helps recognize parts based on rough contours, differentiating a circuit breaker from a motor. Agam Shah, WSJ, "Factory Workers Become Coders as Companies Automate," 17 May 2019 Other than its longer roofline and additional cargo space, there's nothing to differentiate the Focus ST wagon from the hatch mechanically. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "Take a Good Look at the Ford Focus ST Wagon, Because You Won't Be Able to Buy One," 16 May 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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Statistics for differentiate

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for differentiate

The first known use of differentiate was in 1814

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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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