Share this entry

variance Syllabification: var·i·ance
Pronunciation: /ˈverēəns/

Definition of variance in English:


1The fact or quality of being different, divergent, or inconsistent: her light tone was at variance with her sudden trembling
More example sentences
  • Often Bollywood heroes are larger than life and their leadership qualities are totally at variance with reality.
  • In fact, the conclusion of our study is at variance with their assertion.
  • But it turned out worse than that: the 200 submissions were later judged to be totally at variance with the findings of the RAF's own Board of Inquiry into the accident.
inconsistent, at odds, not in keeping, out of keeping, out of line, out of step, in conflict, in disagreement
1.1The state or fact of disagreeing or quarreling: they were at variance with all their previous allies
More example sentences
  • The figures were at variance with the Irish Hospitality Industry Alliance, which said up to 65,000 jobs would be lost if the blanket ban was introduced.
  • Clearly at variance with his boss, he can see no basis on which Britain should join the euro.
  • Last but not least, try not to be at variance with anyone.
1.2chiefly Law A discrepancy between two statements or documents.
1.3 Law An official dispensation from a rule or regulation, typically a building regulation.
Example sentences
  • It happens when a newspaper needs something from government officials - a zoning variance, a broadcast license renewal.
  • It needed variances because the building codes were set up for either residential or hotels, not both.
  • In New York's Chrysler Building, a code variance was required from the fire department to locate the control panel in a room off the lobby rather than beside the elevators.
1.4 Statistics A quantity equal to the square of the standard deviation.
Example sentences
  • In finance, most of the measures we use come straight from statistics - standard deviation, expected value, variance.
  • The method allowed him to investigate the independence of the sample mean and sample variance in certain cases.
  • A statistical test for significance of the regression coefficient requires its variance.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin variantia 'difference', from the verb variare (see vary).

Words that rhyme with variance


Definition of variance in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser