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 The first point of differentiation is where Hebard will end up, though all six outlets have the forward going in the first round. oregonlive, "WNBA mock drafts: Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally going Nos. 1-2," 14 Apr. 2020 Our artist's rendering shows a WRX that's lower, longer, and more aggressive than the current car, with more differentiation than before to set it apart from the mainstream Impreza sedan. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "2022 Subaru WRX STI: What We Know So Far," 27 Feb. 2020 Their joint research led to the discovery of growth factors, or agents that stimulate cell growth and differentiation. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Stanley Cohen, Nobel Winner, Identified Agents Spurring Growth of Cells," 14 Feb. 2020 This was not planned, but was rather the result of myriad colliding stochastic evolutions: state formation and the state’s monopoly over violence, urbanization, the growing differentiation of occupations in increasingly complex economies. Aaron Timms, The New Republic, "Privacy Policy," 27 Jan. 2020 Those 200 years or older also saw decreases in gene expression associated with cell division, differentiation, and expansion. Erin Malsbury, Science | AAAS, "How the Ginkgo biloba achieves near-immortality," 13 Jan. 2020 The bad news was that the parents of children assigned to the sham game did too — meaning that there was no meaningful differentiation on these metrics based on whether kids were playing Akili’s game or the sham. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Will the FDA give the go-ahead to a prescription video game? The wait goes on, as new data come in," 21 Jan. 2020 Innovate or die, is the new reality and companies will have to invest adequately towards R&D. In the digital era, with almost non-existent entry barriers, the point of differentiation will critically determine success. . Debjani Ghosh, Quartz India, "This decade will see the world shed the fear of losing jobs to bots," 26 Jan. 2020 Answering consumer demand for trucks with more differentiation in terms of appearance, Titan models receive different color offerings, three separate grille designs and five different wheel designs. Tim Spell, Houston Chronicle, "Nissan plans ‘tighter’ 2020 Titan lineup," 6 Dec. 2019

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

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differentiation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differentiation. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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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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