Definition of differential in English:



  • 1attributive Of, showing, or depending on a difference; varying according to circumstances or relevant factors.

    ‘the differential achievements of boys and girls’
    • ‘Because I'm venturing outside my own area of work, and because time is short, I won't review all of the social factors producing differential success of men and women.’
    • ‘After donation, all the blood is divided into its constituent parts by a 3,000-revolution per minute centrifuge according to differential density.’
    • ‘The differential expression of mammalian genes depending on the sex of the parent from which they are inherited is known as genomic imprinting.’
    • ‘This seems realistic as we have no evidence to suggest that management of risk factors may have differential benefit according to ethnic origin.’
    • ‘This evidence, together with evidence of differential rates according to day and time of week, explain why local and regional policing and other crime prevention efforts need to focus on injury as well as offending.’
    • ‘Thus, it appears that this relationship is accounted for by factors other than differential rates of incarceration or child welfare involvement.’
    • ‘This emphasizes isoform-specific functions in relation to tissue water permeation or growth as well as differential responses to varying extents of the same abiotic stressor.’
    • ‘Another factor in this differential growth rate was out-migration from the South.’
    • ‘Changes in an explanatory variable will have differential impacts, depending on the category.’
    • ‘Such centres are subject to their own forms of social and spatial ordering, such as differential occupation and use of space according to factors such as age and gender.’
    • ‘Consequently, sprinkled through the book are references to differential effects of television, depending on class.’
    • ‘Moreover, the differential rates of risk factors predict a future increase in morbidity and mortality among underserved and disenfranchised groups.’
    • ‘Differences in abiotic factors such as differential effects of glaciation and sea-level changes on land and in the sea may also greatly influence biogeographic patterns.’
    • ‘The first issue is that nongenetic factors can produce patterns of differential fitness, and create the illusion of local adaptation.’
    • ‘Tests for interaction or trend, however, did not suggest differential benefits according to smoking habit in either trial.’
    • ‘I also want to make it clear that the literature is not completely consistent in the failure to find patterns of results which support the differential impact of sentences that vary in severity.’
    • ‘These differential effects did not depend on the child's age or parents' level of education.’
    • ‘Prevention and intervention strategies, in order to be inclusive, will need to be mindful of the differential contributions of these factors in the lives of girls.’
    • ‘At present, it is unclear why there is a differential requirement for such factors.’
    • ‘The fact that nesting success was unrelated to features of the nest site excludes the influence of weather as major factor leading to differential success among macrohabitats.’
    distinctive, different, dissimilar, contrasting, divergent, disparate, contrastive
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    1. 1.1 Constituting a specific difference; distinctive.
      ‘the differential features between benign and malignant tumours’
      • ‘By proteograph analysis, none of these met the criteria as differential features between the two cell types, yet many of these proteins will have key roles in fundamental breast biology.’
      • ‘Not only offering the means to achieving differential gradations of colour and opacity, the process can also achieve true colour reproduction of photographs and complex graphics.’
      • ‘Fluorescence emission can provide a possible method to separate tissue constituents based on differential spectral features.’
      • ‘We then detail implemented measures that take into account common and differential features between words.’
    2. 1.2Mathematics Relating to infinitesimal differences or to the derivatives of functions.
      • ‘He contributed substantially to topology, differential geometry and complex analytic geometry.’
      • ‘At Zurich, in addition to his work on set theory he also worked on differential geometry, number theory, probability theory and the foundations of mathematics.’
      • ‘He worked on quadratic differential forms and mechanics.’
      • ‘His second area of work was on differential geometry in particular the theory of quadratic differential quantics.’
      • ‘This ‘index theorem’ had antecedents in algebraic geometry and led to important new links between differential geometry, topology and analysis.’
    3. 1.3 Relating to a difference in a physical quantity.
      ‘a differential amplifier’
      • ‘Rail-to-rail input common mode range differential amplifier that operates with very low rail-to-rail voltages’
      • ‘An analytical differential refractive index detector was used.’
      • ‘A differential amplifier was constructed and has many advantages for a variety of applications.’
      • ‘Rather than measure temperature directly, a differential radiometer uses a pair of antennae to detect the difference in temperature between two separate parts of the sky.’
      • ‘A differential amplifier was used for signal amplification.’
      • ‘The signals from the Na + selective and voltage barrels were measured and simultaneously subtracted by the high impedance differential amplifier.’
      • ‘Shifts in the field of view directly affected displacement output, but density increment and strain, being differential quantities, were unaffected.’
      • ‘A differential amplifier calculates a difference between the reference signal and the output signal from the sample and hold circuit.’
      • ‘Examples of Type II devices are an inclinometer and a longitudinal differential floor profilometer which both have 12-inch sensor wheel spacing.’
      • ‘The differential amplifier further includes first and second load devices coupled to the first and second collector regions.’
      • ‘A differential amplifier with a band-pass up to 20 Hz was used to increase immunity to noise.’
      • ‘Each member of a pair of coils that sense the same component of the transmitted field is connected to a different input of a differential amplifier.’


  • 1A difference between amounts of things.

    ‘the differential between petrol and diesel prices’
    • ‘However, the use of the exchange rate as a nominal anchor also led to its real appreciation - as it takes time for the differential between domestic and foreign inflation to fall.’
    • ‘The differential between interest earned and interest paid out by a bank is called the net interest margin.’
    • ‘The result has been a sharp widening in the differential between the wages of highly skilled and low-skilled labor in the United States and other advanced countries.’
    • ‘The differential between the reserve rate and the market rate on treasury bills could decline to make up for the declining demand for reserves derived from the demand for checking accounts.’
    • ‘In most countries, the differential between urban and rural wages is quite pronounced, and this was - and is - certainly the case in Thailand.’
    • ‘Accountants in large firms are more accustomed to a power differential between different levels of management than are accountants in small firms.’
    • ‘A very high proportion of th e workforce is lowly paid, the differential between the very high income of a small minority and the remarkably low income of the majority of Irish workers being among the highest in the Western world.’
    • ‘The Government hopes the move will help slash the differential between country and city fuel prices.’
    • ‘The result included some desirable elements, such as the differential between urban and non-urban taxes and diesel fuel, but was fatally flawed by the commitment that the price of fuel would not increase.’
    • ‘The differential between male and female earnings increased over the period as well.’
    • ‘They also noted seasonal variation in the differential between the two groups.’
    • ‘A majority of American states either mandate or permit manual recounting when the differential between the machine vote totals for opposing candidates is within a certain margin.’
    • ‘The differential between public sector union employees and the rest of the working class in wages, benefits, and job security makes a joke of the very concept of working class solidarity.’
    • ‘In a study carried out last year, it emerged that the differential between the cost of books for a first standard pupil can be between £19.48 and £28.97.’
    • ‘The differential between the New Zealand and Australian corporate tax regimes needed to be addressed as a ‘matter of priority’.’
    • ‘Would you explain the differential between those two sums?’
    • ‘Well, unquestionably, I ran closest to the president of any of the other Republican candidates that won in terms of the differential between his vote and mine.’
    • ‘And profit is a function of the differential between real costs and possible prices.’
    • ‘Certainly, the differential between the amount of American workers and Chinese workers will shrink.’
    • ‘The primary turnover measurement is the differential between takeaways and giveaways.’
    difference, gap, gulf, divergence, disparity, discrepancy, imbalance, inequality, contrast, distinction
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    1. 1.1British A difference in wages between industries or between categories of employees in the same industry.
      ‘regional differentials in pay’
      • ‘Regional differentials should be introduced or re-introduced into award rates of pay.’
      • ‘The wage differentials curbed to reasonable limits.’
      • ‘These include the recognition of regional wage differentials.’
      • ‘And it isn't motivated by just wage differentials.’
      • ‘German unions maintain rigid wage differentials for skills in order to protect their poorest workers.’
      • ‘Employees have voted to take action due to pay differentials between workers in London and Kent.’
      • ‘Factors of production do not move easily across national boundaries in response to wage price differentials.’
      • ‘If they are allowed to explain pay differentials, they only perpetuate that past discrimination.’
      • ‘Authenticity means hammering on about growing inequality and doing something about gross pay differentials.’
      • ‘The dispute concerns night-shift and day-shift pay differentials.’
      • ‘If the widening of the wage differential is allowed to proceed unchecked, it threatens to create within our own country a social problem of major proportions.’
      • ‘Pay differentials in a capitalist society are stark, but the alternative - everybody getting the same - is Marxism, which never works anyway.’
      • ‘The situation is worsened by distorted pay differentials.’
      • ‘First she says there ought to be a rational justification for pay differentials.’
      • ‘Small firms are also under pressure to maintain pay differentials between their junior and more experienced staff to create a career path.’
      • ‘And it is also true that wage differentials between the public and private sector pay have increased.’
      • ‘The court stated that a number of criteria used by employers to justify incremental pay differentials will have to be justified.’
      • ‘We have only to note the way groups of workers use widening or narrowing differentials in the pay structure to argue for wage increases to see the truth of George's statement.’
      • ‘The Central Bank, like many other government bodies, has suffered from a transfer of resources to private industry driven largely by salary differentials.’
      • ‘Negotiations over reducing pay differentials have broken down.’
      imbalance, inequity, unevenness, disproportion, inconsistency, variation, variability
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    2. 1.2Mathematics An infinitesimal difference between successive values of a variable.
      • ‘He had shown when certain elliptic differentials could be integrated in logarithms but his methods was of little practical use.’
      • ‘He published a series of works on combinatorial mathematics, in particular probability, series and formulas for higher differentials.’
      • ‘Here the Fréchet differential plays a decisive role.’
      • ‘It investigates the use of some functional equations in order to calculate the differentials of logarithmic and trigonometrical functions as well as the binomial expansion and Taylor formula.’
      • ‘He used differentials in his courses, which he supplemented with a special one on difference equations and numerical mathematics because engineers often work on discrete data.’
    3. 1.3 A set of gears allowing a motor vehicle's driven wheels to revolve at different speeds when going around corners.
      • ‘Meanwhile other educators having understood the merits of the round wheel, have moved on to the complexities of the axle and the differential.’
      • ‘The additional weight is attributed to the brake system, which will consist of an aluminum brake caliper, steel rotor and pad as specified by the IRL, as well as the limited slip differential in the gearbox.’
      • ‘And the final drive differential linked to the output pulley with a pair of transfer gears is the third.’
      • ‘The Race Logic traction control and limited slip differential allows all areas access to the machine's mighty torque.’
      • ‘Instead, if the driver pushes the accelerator to the floor, the differential cuts the power until the front wheels can find traction, then it allows all the power through.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this is only available on the 3.7 litre petrol version, which gets an extra differential in the driveline.’
      • ‘The transfer cases feature an open center differential which absorbs the speed difference between axles and the front-axle drive.’
      • ‘By applying brake pressure to a slipping wheel, torque is transferred across that axle's differential to the other wheel.’
      • ‘When so engaged, the clutch pack completes the link between the spinning prop shaft and the rear differential, dispatching engine torque to the rear wheels.’
      • ‘Torque transfer is a function of the internal gearing, which generates frictional resistance to differentiation through the axial and radial thrust forces of the gears in the differential.’
      • ‘It's just a bunch of tiny things rather than big engines, differentials, heavy wheels, that comes out during the race, blocks made of wax in the springs that crush when the race starts.’
      • ‘This same product also secures the crown wheel to the differential to prevent fretting (wear caused by small metal particles generated on assembly).’
      • ‘He then locked up the differential on his rear axles, tried it again, got a bit of traction, pulled forward, thought he could then back in, tried that, and got stuck again.’
      • ‘There is a viscous coupling in the front axle, a self-locking differential in the rear and the whole thing alters torque seamlessly from front to rear as required.’
      • ‘Power exits the transmission through a custom metal matrix composite aluminum driveshaft into a race-specification differential with a 4.56: 1 final drive ratio.’
      • ‘One application of this is in the combined gearbox and differential.’
      • ‘A propeller shaft transferred the power from the gearbox to the differential.’
      • ‘That could explain why so many u-joints, clutches, transmissions, differentials and brakes were used up.’
      • ‘There will be components like axles, differentials, for certain products that are very similar in architecture to ours.’
      • ‘That would include the engine, the transmission, the differential and the axles.’


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin differentialis, from Latin differentia ‘difference’ (see differentia).