Definition of differentia in English:


Syllabification: dif·fer·en·ti·a
Pronunciation: /ˌdifəˈrenSH(ē)ə

noun (plural differentiae /-SHēˌē/)

  • 1A distinguishing mark or characteristic.
    More example sentences
    • Then I turn over in my mind the list of topical differentiae and I see that the differentia ‘from equals’ will provide me with the argument I need.
    • The differentiae of specific emotions are not physiological, but cognitive or something else.
    • Indeed, a major differentia between philosophy and theology lies in each discipline's locus of authority and attitude toward its own past.
  • 1.1chiefly Philosophy An attribute that distinguishes a species of thing from other species of the same genus.
    More example sentences
    • The text deals with a detailed explanation of the five logical-ontological key concepts: genus, species, differentia, essential attribute and accidental attribute.
    • As a result, if being were a genus, no differentiae could be said to have being; but ‘the differentiae of any genus must each of them both have being and be one’.
    • Its matter is its genus, which is only potentially the species defined; its differentia is the form that actualizes the matter.


late 17th century: from Latin, literally 'difference', from different- 'carrying away' (see different).

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