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[der-uh-vey-shuh n] /ˌdɛr əˈveɪ ʃən/
the act or fact of deriving or of being derived.
the process of deriving.
the source from which something is derived; origin.
something that is or has been derived; derivative.
  1. development of a theorem.
  2. differentiation (def 2).
  1. the process or device of adding affixes to or changing the shape of a base, thereby assigning the result to a form class that may undergo further inflection or participate in different syntactic constructions, as in forming service from serve, song from sing, and hardness from hard (contrasted with inflection).
  2. the systematic description of such processes in a given language.
  1. a set of forms, including the initial form, intermediate forms, and final form, showing the successive stages in the generation of a sentence as the rules of a generative grammar are applied to it.
  2. the process by which such a set of forms is derived.
Origin of derivation
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English derivacioun < Latin dērīvātiōn- (stem of dērīvātiō) a turning away, equivalent to dērīvāt(us) (past participle of dērīvāre; see derive, -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
derivational, adjective
derivationally, adverb
prederivation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for derivation
Historical Examples
  • The opinion of the Yard was divided respecting the derivation of its name.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • You should consider how inferior we are to them both in the derivation of our birth and in other particulars.

    Alcibiades I (may be spurious) Plato
  • I find no key to the derivation of the word Heygre in the Etymologists.

  • He was naturally anxious to make good his derivation of the name.

    The Island Mystery George A. Birmingham
  • I say, what 's the derivation of your cockie-leekie,—the etymology of the phrase?

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Mr. Hotten says that he could never discover the derivation of beong, or beonk.

    The Gypsies Charles G. Leland
  • I trust that it has not a more recent and purely English derivation.

    The Gypsies Charles G. Leland
  • The derivation and association of ideas are exactly the same.

    Ancient Law Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
  • He once asked Nirada, a boy in his class, the derivation of his name.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
  • The next problem to be considered is the derivation of the word mandragora.

    The Evolution of the Dragon G. Elliot Smith
British Dictionary definitions for derivation


the act of deriving or state of being derived
the source, origin, or descent of something, such as a word
something derived; a derivative
  1. the process of deducing a mathematical theorem, formula, etc, as a necessary consequence of a set of accepted statements
  2. this sequence of statements
  3. the operation of finding a derivative
Derived Forms
derivational, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for derivation

early 15c., from Middle French dérivation (14c.), from Latin derivationem (nominative derivatio) "a leading off, turning away," noun of action from past participle stem of derivare (see derive). Grammatical sense is older; general meaning "origination, descent" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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