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differentiation   WordNet 2.0

- the mathematical process of obtaining the derivative of a function

 
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- a discrimination between things as different and distinct
"it is necessary to make a distinction between love and infatuation"

 
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- (biology) the structural adaptation of some body part for a particular function
"cell differentiation in the developing embryo"

 
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Differentiation   Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

1. The act of differentiating.

"Further investigation of the Sanskrit may lead to differentiation of the meaning of such of these roots as are real roots." -- J. Peile.

2. (Logic) The act of distinguishing or describing a thing, by giving its different, or specific difference; exact definition or determination.

3. (Biol.) The gradual formation or production of organs or parts by a process of evolution or development, as when the seed develops the root and the stem, the initial stem develops the leaf, branches, and flower buds; or in animal life, when the germ evolves the digestive and other organs and members, or when the animals as they advance in organization acquire special organs for specific purposes.

4. (Metaph.) The supposed act or tendency in being of every kind, whether organic or inorganic, to assume or produce a more complex structure or functions.

 
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