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

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 Practices were held in the gymnasium at Waltham High, where players struggled to differentiate the baseball lines from the basketball and volleyball markings. Brendan Kurie, BostonGlobe.com, 9 May 2022 This update is yet another way for Microsoft to help differentiate Windows 11 from Windows 10. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 8 May 2022 But to keep things interesting, opt for unique necklines, shoulder silhouettes, and design details like cutouts and scalloped edges to differentiate the look. Nicole Kliest, Vogue, 4 May 2022 There are signs that collectors may also differentiate between NFTs that catalog a vast set of cartoonlike characters—like the CryptoPunks—and tailored, NFT art projects spurred by major artists who already enjoy museum followings. Paul Vigna, WSJ, 3 May 2022 More seats and more ways to differentiate value makes for a broad variety of price points. Eric Fuller, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Noticing the little nuances that Benedict would come up with to differentiate his alter-self. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 30 Apr. 2022 Even more than unfettered competition, the biggest problem for store owners is an inability to differentiate their product, said Ms. Fukur. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2022 To confirm the size, researchers had to differentiate the comet's solid body, or nucleus, from its coma, the dusty cloud surrounding the object and long tail of debris trailing off of it. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near differentiate

differential windlass

differentiate

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Statistics for differentiate

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiate. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for differentiate

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

More from Merriam-Webster on differentiate

Nglish: Translation of differentiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of differentiate for Arabic Speakers

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