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 The state also keeps tabs on medical marijuana employees, but does not differentiate between full-time and part-time workers. cleveland, "Ohio medical marijuana created an estimated 4,275 jobs: report," 7 Feb. 2020 Unfortunately, the current research on PACE does not differentiate by type of calorie. Washington Post, "Why labeling food items with the exercise needed to burn off their calories is a bad idea," 22 Jan. 2020 Mount Carmel did note that a complicated vaginal birth would cost $5,516, but the other health systems didn’t differentiate their costs that way. Megan Henry, USA TODAY, "Childbirth costs out-of-pocket are rising at a staggering rate, even with insurance," 13 Jan. 2020 Federal law did not differentiate between hemp and other cannabis plants, such as marijuana. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Inside the 'wild wild west' of Indiana's first major hemp harvest," 16 Oct. 2019 The study did not differentiate between killings later determined to be justified and those that were not. NBC News, "Police shootings are a leading cause of death for young black men," 16 Oct. 2019 According to Francie Diep of the New York Times, most humans’ neural foot maps do not differentiate between individual toes. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Inside the Brains of Artists Who Paint With Their Feet," 17 Sep. 2019 Deep scan mode identified objects inside the test wall, yet the StudSensor won’t differentiate between materials. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Stud Finders for Any Job," 16 Sep. 2019 The Commerce Department data doesn’t differentiate between profits repatriated from stockpiles preceding the tax law and new profits that companies generated abroad in 2018. Theo Francis, WSJ, "U.S. Companies Brought Home More Profits From Overseas," 20 June 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

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differentiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiating. Accessed 21 Feb. 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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