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 Another key point of differentiation for Pinterest is that its users come specifically with shopping intent, searching and exploring products directly on the app. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Investors Stick a Pin in Pinterest," 27 Apr. 2021 Effectively the differentiation between those two things disappears. Eben Shapiro, Time, "PayPal CEO Dan Schulman: Cryptocurrency Is the Real Deal. And the Superapps Are Coming.," 25 Apr. 2021 The challenge, for publishers and advertisers alike, is grounding their audience investments to pursue the kind of brand building that matters for marketplace differentiation. Richard Marques, Forbes, "Why Accountability, Curation And An Open Web Are Key To Digital's Future," 1 Mar. 2021 But these points of differentiation are not always enough to keep the lights on. Errol Schweizer, Forbes, "Why The Grocery Industry Is Concerned By Mass Consolidation," 18 Mar. 2021 Finding the rate at which something changes is called differentiation. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Curing Procrastination With Calculus," 11 Mar. 2021 With GKE Autopilot, Google delivered another industry first by removing the complexity of running cloud native workloads while creating a strong differentiation factor for its cloud platform. Janakiram Msv, Forbes, "Google Makes Kubernetes Invisible In The Cloud With GKE Autopilot," 26 Feb. 2021 Ennos argues that our forward-facing eyes with binocular vision, upright posture and differentiation between hind limbs for locomotion and forelimbs for gripping all evolved for living in canopies. Washington Post, "How wood shaped human history, from spears to boats to books," 31 Dec. 2020 There is an entire family of Wnt proteins that play an important role in embryonic development, stem cell maintenance, tissue regeneration, bone growth, stem cell differentiation and many human cancers. Jen Christiansen, Scientific American, "No-Kill, High-Resolution 3-D Movies of Cells Now Possible," 21 May 2013

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of differentiation was in 1776

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Statistics for differentiation

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Differentiation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiation. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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