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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Painters can often match colors but with a little variance. Veronica Toney, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 July 2022 The Montgomery Village Board this week approved a special use and variance requests for a Trans Lines warehouse and distribution facility to be built at the southeast corner of Rochester and Gusto drives in the village. Judy Pochel, Chicago Tribune, 26 May 2022 On Wednesday, city officials approved a variance for the skyscraper's upper-level floorplates, which Bedrock representatives said was needed because the tower's floorplates will get increasingly smaller at higher levels. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 12 May 2022 The current plans require a variance of development standards and a rezoning of the eastern portion of the site to permit the apartments. Alexandria Burris, The Indianapolis Star, 10 May 2022 The Ohio Department of Health has started to rescind a variance that allows Women's Med to operate. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, 15 Apr. 2022 The two main variance requests centered on the number of parking spaces and apartment units. Megan Rodriguez, San Antonio Express-News, 3 Feb. 2022 The county’s approval comes after new environmental impact variance requests were submitted in September by project developer Mark Levy of H&H Rock Cos. Cameron Goodnight,, 10 Dec. 2021 Building Commissioner Jim Urankar told council Tuesday that the city gets about 25 variance requests per year from residents who want to install a privacy fence around their property. cleveland, 4 Mar. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for variance

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

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Dictionary Entries Near variance

varia lectio



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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Variance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for variance


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

More from Merriam-Webster on variance

Nglish: Translation of variance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of variance for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about variance


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