variation

noun
var·​i·​a·​tion | \ ˌver-ē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce variation (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from variation

variational \ ˌver-​ē-​ˈā-​shnəl How to pronounce variational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
variationally adverb

Synonyms for variation

Synonyms

interpretation, riff, take

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

From there, the probe will measure temperature variations in the soil and learn more about the planet’s soil and the inner workings of its core. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's New Underground Mars Probe Is Stuck," 6 Mar. 2019 Choosing decor in variations on a single hue makes an office space feel more cohesive. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "How to Create an Office That Makes You Genuinely Look Forward to Working," 20 Feb. 2019 My double-mindedness persists in the Age of Trump, as the passions of my parents’ 1930s seem to replay themselves in 21st-century variations. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "America Is Torn Between Trump’s Fibs and Progressives’ Fantasies," 15 Feb. 2019 The rumors for the Galaxy S10 have also started in earnest, with reports speculating that Samsung will release three variations of the phone in the spring, plus a 5G phone and the foldable device. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Samsung," 26 Dec. 2018 The largest variations under RCP 8.5 emerge around 2100. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Winters are warming faster than summers. These US cities could lose weeks of freezing days by 2050.," 21 Dec. 2018 These disturbances can be in the form of boundaries that are less than perfectly smooth, variations in the pressure driving the flow, etc. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Also, there might be genetic variations in different populations. NBC News, "Childhood cancer rates highest in Northeast, new CDC map shows," 29 June 2018 Even in areas with smaller closures (there tends to be a lot of variation in how bans are implemented), there’s often no data on if the site is still used for nesting and, therefore, if a closure is warranted. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, "We're Overprotecting Birds at the Expense of Climbers," 12 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about variation

Share variation

Statistics for variation

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for variation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce variation (audio) \

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- How to pronounce variation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce variational (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on variation

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!