Definition of derive in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈrʌɪv/


[with object] (derive something from)
1Obtain something from (a specified source): they derived great comfort from this assurance
More example sentences
  • The Africanized sources were derived from colonies obtained locally.
  • This organization can derive its power from a number of sources, both economic and non-economic.
  • He did repeatedly make clear that his story was derived from what his source said.
obtain, get, take, gain, acquire, procure, extract, attain, glean
1.1 (derive something from) Base a concept on an extension or modification of (another concept): some maintain that he derived the idea of civil disobedience from Thoreau
More example sentences
  • The author strongly suggests to any critics that before responding to this item, they first download the work cited in footnote 16 and ensure that their arguments are derived from and based on the authority of the Bible.
  • These new affiliations are derived from and based upon the commonly experienced terror, and beyond it - on shared survival joy and guilt, depression and reparation, hope and despair.
  • Epistemologically speaking, all of these concepts are derived from, or associated with, systems theories in general and, more specifically, with theories of self-organizing ecological systems.
1.2 [no object] (derive from) (Of a word) have (a specified word, usually of another language) as a root or origin: the word ‘punch’ derives from the Hindustani ‘pancha’ [with object]: the word ‘man’ is derived from the Sanskrit ‘manas’
More example sentences
  • The word Islam itself, meaning submission to God, derives from the Arabic root word salama, which means peace.
  • This process was called retting (a name which, unsurprisingly, derives from the same root as rot).
  • Similarly, dishevelled comes from the Old French deschevelé and was not derived from a word shevelled.
originate in, have its origins in, have as a source, arise in;
stem, descend, spring, be taken, be got
1.3 [no object] (derive from) Arise from or originate in (a specified source): words whose spelling derives from Dr Johnson’s incorrect etymology
More example sentences
  • Yet another source of public confusion derives from psychologists themselves.
  • A major source of agricultural income derives from wine production.
  • But it would be a long time before you came up with a source of happiness that derived from the beneficence of government.
originate in, have its origin in, be rooted in, be traceable to;
stem, proceed, flow, pour, spring, emanate, issue, ensue, descend, come
1.4 (be derived from) Linguistics (Of a sentence in a natural language) be linked by a set of stages to (its underlying logical form).
Example sentences
  • In this theory, a passive was no longer to be derived from an active sentence, but both from a common deep structure which was neither active nor passive.
  • Formal idioms are idiomatic in the sense just stated - their properties cannot be derived from more general principles.
  • What kind of rule(s) are needed to derive passive sentences?
1.5 (be derived from) (Of a substance) be formed or prepared by (a chemical or physical process affecting another substance): strong acids are derived from the combustion of fossil fuels
More example sentences
  • Since olestra is derived from fat molecules, it has similar chemical and physical properties.
  • The reduced form is a thioether and is derived from cysteine, whereas the oxidized form is a sulphate ester and is derived from the sulphonation pathway.
  • It is concentrated in this plant's leaves and is derived from pyridine molecules.
1.6 Mathematics Obtain (a function or equation) from another by a sequence of logical steps, for example by differentiation: the volume fraction of the soil can then be derived as a function of L
More example sentences
  • Once you see the steps in deriving the rule and you know why it is a valid shortcut, you won't have any trouble using it.
  • There were many long calculations, deriving one formula from another to solve a differential equation.
  • He worked on how to derive class number relations from modular equations.



Pronunciation: /dɪˈrʌɪvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Behavior modification refers only to that body of procedures and conceptual systems derivable from experimental psychology or experimental learning theory.
  • The advance in the book is not noticeable until close to the end, but it's derivable from the title.
  • But besides these pleasures there is that love of beauty and delight in it derivable from assuming graceful attitudes and performing graceful movements and also in seeing such in others.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'draw a fluid through or into a channel'): from Old French deriver or Latin derivare, from de- 'down, away' + rivus 'brook, stream'.

  • rival from late 16th century:

    A rival was originally someone with whom you had to share your water supply. Recorded in English from the late 16th century, the word goes back to Latin rivalis, which originally meant ‘person living on the opposite bank and using the same stream as another’. It comes via Latin rivus ‘stream’ from ripus river. Derive (Late Middle English) was originally ‘draw a fluid through or into a channel’ and comes from de- ‘down, away’ and rivus.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de¦rive

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