# differential

[dif-uh-ren-shuh l]

- of or relating to difference or diversity.
- constituting a difference; distinguishing; distinctive: a differential feature.
- exhibiting or depending upon a difference or distinction.
- Physics, Machinery. pertaining to or involving the difference of two or more motions, forces, etc.
- Mathematics. pertaining to or involving a derivative or derivatives.

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- a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.
- 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.
- Mathematics.
- 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.
- any generalization of this function to higher dimensions.

- Commerce.
- the difference involved in a differential rate.
- differential rate.

- Physics. the quantitative difference between two or more forces, motions, etc.: a pressure differential.

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## Origin of differential^{}

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

## Examples from the Web for differential

### Contemporary Examples

#### That differential accounted for about 60 percent of the downward revision.

#### He turned his thesis into the book Geometric Perturbation Theory in Physics on the new developments in differential geometry.

This is What Happens When You Teach Machines the Power of Natural SelectionJames Barrat

February 1, 2014

#### For smaller volumes, Kaijser said, the differential between wood and PVC is about 10 percent.

#### Natural selection is the differential survival of replicators in gene pools.

#### This is specious quantification, whether or not differential equations have been incompetently applied.

Barbara Fredrickson’s Bestselling ‘Positivity’ Is Trashed by a New StudyWill Wilkinson

August 16, 2013

### Historical Examples

#### Conversely, when the differential is higher or lower, the markets are out of line.

About sugar buying for JobbersB. W. Dyer

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

Life in a TankRichard Haigh

#### Between 1890 and 1895 there was a steady decline in the differential.

The Principles of EconomicsFrank A. Fetter

#### It is just a name for the differential character of the action.

Essays in Experimental LogicJohn Dewey

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

Roy Blakeley's Motor CaravanPercy Keese Fitzhugh

## differential

- of, relating to, or using a difference
- constituting a difference; distinguishing
- maths of, containing, or involving one or more derivatives or differentials
- physics engineering relating to, operating on, or based on the difference between two effects, motions, forces, etcdifferential amplifier

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- a factor that differentiates between two comparable things
- maths
- an increment in a given function, expressed as the product of the derivative of that function and the corresponding increment in the independent variable
- 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

- an epicyclic gear train that permits two shafts to rotate at different speeds while being driven by a third shaftSee also differential gear
- mainly British the difference between rates of pay for different types of labour, esp when forming a pay structure within an industry
- (in commerce) a difference in rates, esp between comparable labour services or transportation routes

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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 for differential

### adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

## differential

[dĭf′ə-rĕn′shəl]

- An infinitesimal increment in a variable.
- The product of the derivative of a function of one variable and the increment of the independent variable.

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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.