variance

noun
var·​i·​ance | \ ˈver-ē-ən(t)s How to pronounce variance (audio) \

Definition of variance

1 : the fact, quality, or state of being variable or variant : difference, variation yearly variance in crops
2 : the fact or state of being in disagreement : dissension, dispute
3 : a disagreement between two parts of the same legal proceeding that must be consonant
4 : a license to do some act contrary to the usual rule a zoning variance
5 : the square of the standard deviation
at variance
: not in harmony or agreement

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for variance

discord, strife, conflict, contention, dissension, variance mean a state or condition marked by a lack of agreement or harmony. discord implies an intrinsic or essential lack of harmony producing quarreling, factiousness, or antagonism. a political party long racked by discord strife emphasizes a struggle for superiority rather than the incongruity or incompatibility of the persons or things involved. during his brief reign the empire was never free of civil strife conflict usually stresses the action of forces in opposition but in static applications implies an irreconcilability as of duties or desires. the conflict of freedom and responsibility contention applies to strife or competition that shows itself in quarreling, disputing, or controversy. several points of contention about the new zoning law dissension implies strife or discord and stresses a division into factions. religious dissension threatened to split the colony variance implies a clash between persons or things owing to a difference in nature, opinion, or interest. cultural variances that work against a national identity

Examples of variance in a Sentence

There was some variance in the results. We noticed a slight variance between the quality of the samples. He had to get a variance to add a garage on to his house.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The board could rule on those variance requests at its Feb. 6 meeting. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two historic Walker's Point buildings to be converted into small number of condos, plus retail space," 27 Jan. 2020 Known as the Market at Medina Line planned development district, the project first came before the Zoning Commission last year as a zoning variance request. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Granger trustees to review latest plans for Medina County Menards store," 21 Jan. 2020 As a consequence of variances in coverage, Texas newspaper readers may form the perception that some protests are more legitimate than others. Danielle K. Kilgo, The Conversation, "What do we want? Unbiased reporting! When do we want it? During protests!," 16 Jan. 2020 This forces him to make arm throws, adding a ton of variance to his ball placement. John Owning, Dallas News, "3 Cowboys players who could benefit the most from Mike McCarthy and his staff, including QB Dak Prescott," 8 Jan. 2020 The source of that variance is random silencing of genes, or epigenetic changes. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Scientists aren’t sure why identical twins differ. Armadillo quads offer an answer," 20 Dec. 2019 Ohio Health Director Amy Acton recently rescinded that variance. USA TODAY, "Gray whale tows calf, wolves on the move, John Dillinger won’t be exhumed; News from around our 50 states," 11 Jan. 2020 Deibel said Friday that the clinic has refiled its variance with the fourth physician. Cathy Candisky, Cincinnati.com, "Leaders of Cincinnati’s only abortion clinic takes step to avoid closure," 10 Jan. 2020 Perhaps most interesting about Baseball Prospectus’ rankings is their variance scale, which focuses on the difficulty of banking on prospects: Generally speaking, the Tigers’ top prospects are much more projection than proven track record. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Casey Mize, Matt Manning top Detroit Tigers' prospect lists as rankings roll out," 9 Jan. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of variance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for variance

Middle English variaunce "change, variety, discrepancy," borrowed from Anglo-French variance, borrowed from Latin variantia, "diversity, variety," from variant-, varians variant entry 1 + -ia -ia entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about variance

Time Traveler for variance

Time Traveler

The first known use of variance was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for variance

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Variance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/variance. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for variance

variance

noun

Financial Definition of variance

What It Is

Variance is a statistical measure of how much a set of observations differ from each other.

In accounting and financial analysis, variance also refers to how much an actual expense deviates from the budgeted or forecast amount.

How It Works

For example, let's say Company XYZ stock has the following prices:

The average of these prices is $21.33. To calculate the variance, we see how "far away" each day's stock price is from $21, like this:

Notice that some of the differences are negative. Because we're going to calculate the average difference, the negative numbers create a mathematical problem (they'll offset the positive numbers and screw up the calculation). To avoid this, we square each difference so that each difference is positive, like this:



The last step is simply calculating the average of those squared differences, which is $9.42, and then taking the square root of that number to get the amount by which Company XYZ stock tends to vary from its average price.

The square root is $3.07, meaning that when Company XYZ deviates from that $21 average, it tends to do so by about $3.07.

Why It Matters

Variance is a measure of volatility because it measures how much a stock tends to deviate from its mean. The higher the variance, the more wildly the stock fluctuates. Accordingly, the higher the variance, the riskier the stock.

Source: Investing Answers

variance

noun
How to pronounce variance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of variance

formal : an amount of difference or change
law : an official decision or document that allows someone to do something that is not usually allowed by the rules

variance

noun
var·​i·​ance | \ ˈver-ē-əns How to pronounce variance (audio) \

Legal Definition of variance

1 : a disagreement between two documents or positions especially : a disagreement between allegations (as in an indictment or complaint) and proof offered at trial that warrants an appropriate remedy (as a directed verdict or an acquittal) when prejudicial to the substantial rights of the defendant
2 : an authorization to do something contrary to the usual restriction a variance granted by a state agency especially : permission for a use of real property that is prohibited by a zoning ordinance — see also unnecessary hardship — compare spot zoning

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on variance

What made you want to look up variance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!