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differentiate

[dif-uh-ren-shee-eyt]
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verb (used with object), dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed, dif·fer·en·ti·at·ing.
  1. to form or mark differently from other such things; distinguish.
  2. to change; alter.
  3. to perceive the difference in or between.
  4. to make different by modification, as a biological species.
  5. Mathematics. to obtain the differential or the derivative of.
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verb (used without object), dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed, dif·fer·en·ti·at·ing.
  1. to become unlike or dissimilar; change in character.
  2. to make a distinction.
  3. Biology. (of cells or tissues) to change from relatively generalized to specialized kinds, during development.
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Origin of differentiate

1810–20; < Medieval Latin differentiātus distinguished (past participle of differentiāre), equivalent to Latin different(ia) difference + -ātus -ate1
Related formsdif·fer·en·ti·a·tion, nounin·ter·dif·fer·en·ti·ate, verb (used with object), in·ter·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed, in·ter·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ing.re·dif·fer·en·ti·ate, verb, re·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed, re·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ing.self-dif·fer·en·ti·at·ing, adjectiveun·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed, adjective

Synonyms

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1. set off. 3. separate.

Synonym study

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

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British Dictionary definitions for differentiate

differentiate

verb
  1. (tr) to serve to distinguish between
  2. (when intr, often foll by between) to perceive, show, or make a difference (in or between); discriminate
  3. (intr) to become dissimilar or distinct
  4. maths to perform a differentiation on (a quantity, expression, etc)
  5. (intr) (of unspecialized cells, etc) to change during development to more specialized forms
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Derived Formsdifferentiator, noun
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 differentiate

v.

1816, from Medieval Latin differentiatus, past participle of differentiare, from Latin differentia (see difference).

Originally a mathematical term; transitive and non-technical sense of "discriminate between" is from 1876. Earlier, difference had been used as a verb in this sense. Related: Differentiated; differentiating; differentiation.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper