dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​a·​tion | \ ˌdi-fə-ˌren(t)-shē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce differentiation (audio) \

Definition of differentiation

1 : the act or process of differentiating
2 : development from the one to the many, the simple to the complex, or the homogeneous to the heterogeneous differentiation of Latin into vernaculars
3 biology
a : modification of body parts for performance of particular functions
b : the sum of the processes whereby apparently indifferent (see indifferent sense 7) or unspecialized cells, tissues, and structures attain their adult form and function
4 geology : the processes by which various rock types are produced from a common magma

Examples of differentiation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a real blow to the Pixel's differentiation, one rep told Wave7 that he's sold Pixels to people who came in looking for Galaxy S22 models when Samsung's flagship line was sold out. Sascha Segan, PCMAG, 19 Apr. 2022 Isn’t some measure of risk a prerequisite for innovation, differentiation and distinction? Seth Matlins, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 One of my favorite features of the OnePlus 8 Pro was the killer macro camera, which allowed for dramatically different photos, providing a real point of differentiation for the camera. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 18 Apr. 2022 Mindsay also points to a second key point of differentiation. David Prosser, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Those who believe in democratization in higher education vilify it, while those who believe in differentiation applaud it. WSJ, 7 Apr. 2022 Another point of differentiation is the sprawling foredeck. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 4 Apr. 2022 Please explain the differentiation between ‘originals’ and co-productions (such as the recent Nippon TV deal)? Patrick Frater, Variety, 13 Mar. 2022 The differentiation won’t be obvious until later, when supply chain issues ease and more inventory floods the market. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, 8 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'differentiation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of differentiation

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for differentiation

borrowed from New Latin differentiātiōn-, differentiātiō, from Medieval Latin differentiāre "to distinguish, differentiate" + Latin -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Time Traveler for differentiation

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The first known use of differentiation was in 1776

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Differentiation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiation. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for differentiation


dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​a·​tion | \ ˌdi-fə-ˌren-shē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce differentiation (audio) \

Kids Definition of differentiation

: the process of change by which immature living structures develop to maturity


dif·​fer·​en·​ti·​a·​tion | \ -ˌren-chē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce differentiation (audio) \

Medical Definition of differentiation

1a : the act of describing a thing by giving its differentia
b : the enhancement of microscopically visible differences between tissue or cell parts by partial selective decolorization or removal of excess stain (as in regressive staining)
c : the development of a discriminating conditioned response with a positive response to one stimulus and absence of the response on the application of similar but discriminably different stimuli
2a : modification of different parts of the body for performance of particular functions also : specialization of parts or organs in the course of evolution
b : the sum of the developmental processes whereby apparently unspecialized cells, tissues, and structures attain their adult form and function — compare determination sense 2


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