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# differential

[dif-uh-ren-shuh l]
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1. of or relating to difference or diversity.
2. constituting a difference; distinguishing; distinctive: a differential feature.
3. exhibiting or depending upon a difference or distinction.
4. Physics, Machinery. pertaining to or involving the difference of two or more motions, forces, etc.
5. Mathematics. pertaining to or involving a derivative or derivatives.
noun
1. a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.
2. Also called differential gear. Machinery. an epicyclic train of gears designed to permit two or more shafts to rotate at different speeds, as a set of gears in an automobile permitting the rear wheels to be driven at different speeds when the car is turning.
3. Mathematics.
1. a function of two variables that is obtained from a given function, y = f(x), and that expresses the approximate increment in the given function as the derivative of the function times the increment in the independent variable, written as dy = f′(x)dx.
2. any generalization of this function to higher dimensions.
4. Commerce.
1. the difference involved in a differential rate.
2. differential rate.
5. Physics. the quantitative difference between two or more forces, motions, etc.: a pressure differential.

## Origin of .css-1fxfie5{font-size:22px;}@media (max-width:768px){.css-1fxfie5{font-size:18px;margin:0 10px 10px 0;word-break:break-all;word-wrap:break-word;-webkit-hyphens:auto;-moz-hyphens:auto;-ms-hyphens:auto;hyphens:auto;line-height:22px;}}differential

1640–50; < Medieval Latin differentiālis, equivalent to differenti(a) difference + ālis -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

## Examples from the Web for differential

### Historical Examples

• #### Darwin would say, "Look here, how is the radiator connected with the differential?"

Life in a Tank

Richard Haigh

• #### Because Brent said there ought to be more grease in the differential, too.

Roy Blakeley's Motor Caravan

Percy Keese Fitzhugh

British Dictionary definitions for differential

# differential

1. of, relating to, or using a difference
2. constituting a difference; distinguishing
3. maths of, containing, or involving one or more derivatives or differentials
4. physics engineering relating to, operating on, or based on the difference between two effects, motions, forces, etcdifferential amplifier
noun
1. a factor that differentiates between two comparable things
2. maths
1. an increment in a given function, expressed as the product of the derivative of that function and the corresponding increment in the independent variable
2. an increment in a given function of two or more variables, f(x 1, x 2, … x n), expressed as the sum of the products of each partial derivative and the increment in the corresponding variable
3. an epicyclic gear train that permits two shafts to rotate at different speeds while being driven by a third shaftSee also differential gear
4. mainly British the difference between rates of pay for different types of labour, esp when forming a pay structure within an industry
5. (in commerce) a difference in rates, esp between comparable labour services or transportation routes
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

## Word Origin and History fordifferential

1640s, from Medieval Latin differentialis, from Latin differentia (see difference). Related: Differentially.