Definition of variation
2 : declination 6
3a : a change of algebraic sign between successive terms of a sequenceb : 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 averageb : something (such as an individual or group) that exhibits variation
6a : a solo dance in classic balletb : a repetition in modern ballet of a movement sequence with changes
variationalplay \ˌver-ē-ˈā-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
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 of variation from the Web
Murphy and her two sisters decided to get tested for the genetic variations that can reflect a higher risk of the disease.
His effortless blend of past and present mixes several variations of hip-hop, all saturated with electronics and old-school sampling of funk classics.
This idea is based on a misreading of the data, overgeneralizing from intra-racial variation on particular traits.
The most popular route is a 13-mile ride, but there are more advanced variations for intrepid bikers who love a challenge.
As carriers get more creative with new types of airfares and classes of service that that target passengers based on their willingness to pay, more variation could be on the way.
Wallner and colleagues first located dozens of variations in a segment of DNA along the Y chromosomes of 52 living male horses representing 21 modern breeds.
Lim now also runs a similar dual-purposed research project, called Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains, that is looking at hydrothermal variations in the basalt terrains of volcanoes in Idaho and Hawaii.
Salk’s vaccine — and variations that followed — helped eradicate polio in the Americas.
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
VARIATION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of variation for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of variation for Students
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.
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
variational\-shnəl, -shən-əl\play adjective
Learn More about variation
See words that rhyme with variation Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for variation Spanish Central: Translation of variation Nglish: Translation of variation for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of variation for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about variation
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