variation

noun

var·​i·​a·​tion ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce variation (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
3
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
6
a
: a solo dance in classic ballet
b
: a repetition in modern ballet of a movement sequence with changes
variational adjective
variationally adverb

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 One point of differentiation from the blue variation of this watch released during the Shanghai GP is the bridge securing the balance staff, which has been rendered in blue here, providing a point of color contrast that perfectly compliments the pink hues. Blake Buettner, Robb Report, 8 May 2024 One of them is genetic drift, which introduces random shifts in genetic variation across generations. Quanta Magazine, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for variation 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'variation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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 century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near variation

Cite this Entry

“Variation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/variation. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

variation

noun
vari·​a·​tion
ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən,
ˌvar-
1
a
: a change in form, position, or condition
b
: amount of change or difference
2
: the repeating of a musical passage with a change in rhythm, tune, harmony, or key
variations on a theme by Haydn
3
a
: change in the characteristics that are usual for a species or group
b
: an individual or group showing variation
variational
-shnəl
-shən-ᵊl
adjective

Medical Definition

variation

noun
var·​i·​a·​tion ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən, ˌvar- How to pronounce variation (audio)
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 adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on variation

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