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 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 The contrast could be starker for people of color in general, Ayala said, but her arrest data doesn't differentiate between White and Hispanic. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Citing abuse, Florida prosecutor stops pursuing most resisting arrest charges, sparking police concerns," 8 Oct. 2020 The light used in UV sterilization doesn't differentiate between human cells and bacteria. Allen Foster, chicagotribune.com, "The best UV shoe sanitizer of 2020," 22 Sep. 2020 The result is artificial skin that can differentiate between the gentle touch of a pin or a painful stab. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, "New artificial skin can feel real pain," 2 Dec. 2020 More home monitoring programs have emerged during the pandemic, though, as research has defined the course of COVID-19 and the symptoms that differentiate the treatments patients need. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "Home COVID-19 care easing pressure on Minnesota hospitals," 1 Dec. 2020 With that being the case, the letters B, C and D can be hard to differentiate. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "Zooming our way through life!," 19 Jan. 2021 That lofty new status, Alworth says, came with new pressures to differentiate literature from the visual arts, with each becoming its own distinct and separate sphere. Washington Post, "Illustrated novels have a vibrant history. A rich new era may be upon us.," 22 Dec. 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

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

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