Definition of derivation in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌderəˈvāSH(ə)n/


1The obtaining or developing of something from a source or origin: the derivation of scientific laws from observation
More example sentences
  • Although not a definitive indicator, the lack of abrasion is consistent with derivation from nearby sources.
  • This suggests derivation from a similar source and/or a similar depositional age.
  • But notice that this just pushes the assumption back, and eventually one will reach the beginning of the original derivation.
deriving, induction, deduction, inference;
extraction, eliciting
1.1The formation of a word from another word or from a root in the same or another language.
Example sentences
  • Often, he explains the linguistic derivation of a word or idiom.
  • These differences relate to the historical derivation of the words in question: whether they were acquired directly from Latin or through French.
  • On this account, the word based theories posit that lexical relations in Semitic languages are linked to derivations involving lexemes and morphemes.
origin, etymology, root, etymon, provenance, source;
origination, beginning, foundation, basis, cause;
development, evolution
1.2Origin; extraction: music of primarily Turkish derivation
More example sentences
  • He is of mainly Dutch derivation, with some Japanese ancestry, as well.
  • The argument conveniently ignores the political reality of devolution, ie that we are Europeans through contribution, not derivation.
  • One young man whose derivation, I found out, was by way of Pakistan, had to leave in the middle of the semester.
1.3Something derived; a derivative: the derivation “sheepish” has six definitions
More example sentences
  • Essentially a derivation of sherry, the recipe is attributed to the original French monks who settled at the Abbey in the 1880s.
2 Linguistics In generative grammar, the set of stages that link the abstract underlying structure of an expression to its surface form.
Example sentences
  • From a metalinguistic framework, a first distinction may be proposed between tasks that involve morphological derivation in sentence completion and tasks that place a heavier load on explicit segmentation.
  • Compared with delayed dyslexies, phonological dyslexies were impaired in the suffix deletion task but not in derivation in a sentence context.
  • But there must be some logical explanation and derivation, that fits with the current definition, mustn't there?
3 Mathematics The process of deducing a new formula, theorem, etc., from previously accepted statements.
Example sentences
  • But here is an elementary (no calculus) derivation that pulls together several useful but mostly disregarded in the pre-college mathematics ideas.
  • Sometimes when going through a long algebraic derivation, I will ask each student in turn: ‘Clara, what is the next step in solving for [lambda]?’
  • His derivation of the estimates is a tour de force and the applications in algebraic geometry are beautiful.
3.1A sequence of statements showing that a formula, theorem, etc., is a consequence of previously accepted statements.
Example sentences
  • The work is a survey of Kerala mathematics and, very unusually for an Indian mathematical text, it contains proofs of the theorems and gives derivations of the rules it contains.
  • After Arbogast died in 1803, Français inherited his mathematical papers and continued to work on the calculus of derivations.
  • Here is a mathematical derivation of the two values.



Pronunciation: /-SHənl/
Example sentences
  • However, the assumptions that are the ‘building blocks ‘of the derivational dating methods of the physical world are severely cracked.’
  • Good examples of the former are the special issues in journals on experimental studies of inflectional, morphemic compounding, and derivational morphology in relation to learning to read and spell.
  • Presumably, children would rely on the consistent phoneme-to-grapheme conversion rules to spell regular words whereas they might rely on derivational relations to spell morphological words.


Late Middle English (denoting the drawing of a fluid, specifically the drawing of pus or blood; also in the sense 'formation of a word from another word'): from Latin derivatio(n-), from the verb derivare (see derive).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: der·i·va·tion

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