variation

noun
var·​i·​a·​tion | \ ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən \

Definition of variation

1a : the act or process of varying : the state or fact of being varied
b : an instance of varying
c : the extent to which or the range in which a thing varies
3a : a change of algebraic sign between successive terms of a sequence
b : a measure of the change in data, a variable, or a function
4 : the repetition of a musical theme with modifications in such elements as rhythm, melody, harmony, key, tempo, and accompaniment
5a : divergence in the structural or functional characteristics of an organism from the species or population norm or average
b : something (such as an individual or group) that exhibits variation
6a : a solo dance in classic ballet
b : a repetition in modern ballet of a movement sequence with changes

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Other Words from variation

variational \ ˌver-​ē-​ˈā-​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
variationally adverb

Synonyms for variation

Synonyms

interpretation, riff, take

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Examples of variation in a Sentence

the movie begins with a somewhat irreverent variation on the Nativity story the latest in a long line of variations in her hair color

Recent Examples on the Web

This means food companies saw more variation in their earnings over the past five years than sectors like industrial machinery and investment banks. Aaron Back, WSJ, "This Sector Is No Longer a Bear-Market Safe Haven," 3 Jan. 2019 But certain variations in the DNA of these genes only result in schizophrenia if there are complications during pregnancy. Dana G. Smith, Scientific American, "The Placenta Is Now a Suspect In Heightening Schizophrenia Risk," 28 May 2018 Related Fishermen and marine scientists who study Alaska fisheries are used to natural variations in ocean circulation patterns. Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "Climate Change Drives Fish Into New Waters, Remaking an Industry," 22 Dec. 2018 Such claims are frustrating for scientists who have spent decades studying past variations in Earth’s climate in order to understand current changes and provide forecasts for the future. Frank Jordans, The Seattle Times, "Climate talks shift to nitty-gritty details of Paris accord," 5 Dec. 2018 Each photo showcases how the top portion of an outfit can be worn two different ways, simply with a variation in accessories and a switch from skirt to pants. The Editors, Marie Claire, "Easy Mix-and-Match Outfit Ideas for Fall," 4 Sep. 2018 Using this as a source of quasi-random variation in compensation, an economist found that teams that had to pay extra for a player gave him additional plate appearances, even controlling for characteristics of the player and the team. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Electoral impacts of robot workers," 13 July 2018 At the best of times, this is a fragile climate, with little rainfall and huge variations in temperature, which is why this vast territory supports a population of only 3 million people, making it the world’s most sparsely populated country. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Mongolia’s nomadic way of life threatened by climate change, neglect, modernity," 8 July 2018 If there’s more variation in the females than the males, that might mean the females were migrating from different areas. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Ancient Teeth Reveal The Roots of Humankind," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'variation.' 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 variation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for variation

Middle English variacioun, borrowed from Anglo-French variacion "variance, discrepancy," borrowed from Latin variātiōn-, variātiō "diversification, divergence," from variāre "to make changeable, vary" + -tiōn- -tiō, suffix of deverbal nouns

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Statistics for variation

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for variation

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

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More Definitions for variation

variation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of variation

: a change in the form, position, condition, or amount of something

: something that is similar to something else but different in some way

music : a repeated version of a short piece of music with changes in its rhythm, tune, or harmony

variation

noun
var·​i·​a·​tion | \ ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən \

Kids Definition of variation

1 : a change in form, position, or condition Our routine could use some variation.
2 : amount of change or difference Scientists record the variations in temperature.
3 : departure from what is usual to a group The poodle's offspring show no variation from the breed.

variation

noun
var·​i·​a·​tion | \ ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən, ˌvar- \

Medical Definition of variation

1 : divergence in one or more characteristics of an organism or biotype from those typical of or usual for its group
2 : something (as an individual or group) that exhibits variation

Other Words from variation

variational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl \ adjective

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Comments on variation

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