Origin of variation

1350–1400; < Latin variātiōn- (stem of variātiō), equivalent to variāt(us) (see variate) + -iōn- -ion; replacing Middle English variacioun < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related formsvar·i·a·tion·al, var·i·a·tive [vair-ee-ey-tiv] /ˈvɛər iˌeɪ tɪv/, adjectivevar·i·a·tion·al·ly, var·i·a·tive·ly, adverbin·ter·va·ri·a·tion, nounnon·var·i·a·tion, nouno·ver·var·i·a·tion, nounpre·var·i·a·tion, nounself-var·i·a·tion, noun

Synonyms for variation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for variation

Contemporary Examples of variation

Historical Examples of variation

  • He was glad to have discovered that variation; but he could discover nothing else.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • The variation seemed in a manner proportional to the pressure.

  • If it is not this identical system, it is a variation of it.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The essence of truth cannot be affected by the variation of external circumstances.

  • Time him as often as you will, you can never convict him of a second's variation.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for variation



the act, process, condition, or result of changing or varying; diversity
an instance of varying or the amount, rate, or degree of such change
something that differs from a standard or convention
  1. a repetition of a musical theme in which the rhythm, harmony, or melody is altered or embellished
  2. (as modifier)variation form
  1. a marked deviation from the typical form or function
  2. a characteristic or an organism showing this deviation
astronomy any change in or deviation from the mean motion or orbit of a planet, satellite, etc, esp a perturbation of the moon
another word for magnetic declination
ballet a solo dance
linguistics any form of morphophonemic change, such as one involved in inflection, conjugation, or vowel mutation
Derived Formsvariational, adjectivevariationally, adverb
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 variation

late 14c., from Old French variation, from Latin variationem (nominative variatio) "a difference, variation, change," from past participle stem of variare "to change" (see vary). The musical sense is attested from 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

variation in Medicine


[vâr′ē-āshən, văr-]


The act, process, or result of varying.
The state or fact of being varied.
The extent or degree to which something varies.
Something that is slightly different from another of the same type.
Marked difference or deviation from the normal or recognized form, function, or structure.
An organism exhibiting such difference or deviation.
A function that relates the values of one variable to those of other variables.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.