[dif-uh-ren-shee-uh, -shuh]

noun, plural dif·fer·en·ti·ae [dif-uh-ren-shee-ee] /ˌdɪf əˈrɛn ʃiˌi/.

the character or attribute by which one species is distinguished from all others of the same genus.
the character or basic factor by which one entity is distinguished from another.

Origin of differentia

From Latin, dating back to 1820–30; see origin at difference
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for differentia

Historical Examples of differentia

  • Its differentia is that which separates it from the unit of common humanity.

    Personality in Literature

    Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

  • It is the possession of these, above all, which constitutes the differentia of man.

    Gloria Crucis

    J. H. Beibitz

  • Moreover, the definition of the differentia may be predicated of that of which the differentia itself is predicated.

  • If one of them only has this differentia, then this one is composite and is not the first cause.

  • Universality not the differentia of aesthetic pleasure, 40 et seq.

    The Sense of Beauty

    George Santayana

British Dictionary definitions for differentia


noun plural -tiae (-ʃɪˌiː)

logic a feature by which two subclasses of the same class of named objects can be distinguishedAlso called: difference

Word Origin for differentia

C19: from Latin: diversity, difference
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