Definition of derivation in US English:



  • 1The obtaining or developing of something from a source or origin.

    ‘the derivation of scientific laws from observation’
    • ‘The origin or derivation of rights is a difficult area, but Manderson says that they are claimed and granted within the context of a community on the basis of what is deemed reasonable.’
    • ‘Two facies of regionally metamorphosed rocks that may be of either original sedimentary or igneous derivation are characterized by epidote.’
    • ‘The mineralogy of loess commonly differs considerably from that of the underlying bedrock, further demonstrating its derivation from a distant source.’
    • ‘But notice that this just pushes the assumption back, and eventually one will reach the beginning of the original derivation.’
    • ‘Furthermore, they suggested that such neuroendocrine carcinomas might be of endodermal rather than neuroectodermal derivation.’
    • ‘The ancestral metazoan gene structure gives the most parsimonious derivation of its descendant genes.’
    • ‘The derivation of snakes from mosasauroids implies a marine origin of snakes.’
    • ‘These approaches have one important aspect in common: they all effectively reduce the dimensionality of the search-space by assumption, rather than by derivation.’
    • ‘Einstein's original derivation of mass-energy equivalence is the best known in this group.’
    • ‘This area has been problematized by a long historical debate over secularism and the complicated derivation of civil laws from various codification systems.’
    • ‘There is, to my mind, a distinction between the source from which the dividend is paid and the derivation of that source.’
    • ‘A mutual interaction, rather than a one-way derivation, could offer a more fruitful and more critical path.’
    • ‘The combined isotopic data suggest derivation of the sediments from at least three distinct crustal source regions.’
    • ‘Considering its derivation from pop fiction and movies, Greene's writing is better than it needed to be.’
    • ‘The trace element and isotopic characteristics of these dykes imply derivation from an asthenospheric mantle source, which is likely to occur only as a result of regional lithospheric extension.’
    • ‘Although not a definitive indicator, the lack of abrasion is consistent with derivation from nearby sources.’
    • ‘To begin with, there is the matter of its provenance, which concerns the origin or derivation of an artifact.’
    • ‘The high silica content suggests derivation from a high pressure metamorphic source.’
    • ‘In addition, the similarity of the provenance record of samples from glacial and non-glacial units within the Appin and Argyll groups suggests derivation of these two broad depositional regimes from similar source regions.’
    • ‘This suggests derivation from a similar source and/or a similar depositional age.’
    deriving, induction, deduction, deducing, inferring, inference, gathering, gleaning, drawing out, extraction, eliciting
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    1. 1.1 The formation of a word from another word or from a root in the same or another language.
      • ‘But the similarity of the name to the Incan word makes the actual derivation ambiguous.’
      • ‘The precise derivation of the word has always been as contentious as it is obscure but it is tempting to see some shared lexical kinship with our New Year festivities.’
      • ‘He was also learning the meaning of words, their derivation and more while broadening his general knowledge in leaps and bounds.’
      • ‘I honestly can't give you the derivation of the word, you'd probably need to check someone with training in linguistics.’
      • ‘Is there a book out there that indicates the derivation of words?’
      • ‘Whatever its derivation it has lost any regional associations.’
      • ‘Often, he explains the linguistic derivation of a word or idiom.’
      • ‘When I first came to the community I asked people for the derivation of the word.’
      • ‘Of course, the common derivation of the word Sheffield - ‘the sheep field’ - is wrong and, frankly, slightly naive.’
      • ‘I like language and often times, words and their derivation interest me.’
      • ‘The derivation of the word manufacture reflects its original meaning, ‘to make by hand.’’
      • ‘These differences relate to the historical derivation of the words in question: whether they were acquired directly from Latin or through French.’
      • ‘Many of them would later find their way to Louisiana where they became known as Cajuns, a derivation of the word Acadian.’
      • ‘We forget the derivation of the word journalism: someone who keeps a journal.’
      • ‘On this account, the word based theories posit that lexical relations in Semitic languages are linked to derivations involving lexemes and morphemes.’
      • ‘The derivation of the Chinese word Tai-wan is unknown, though its literal meaning is ‘terraced bay.’’
      • ‘The derivation from the Greek word koros, which means insect, is supposed to describe the insect-like aroma of the leaves, although some experts argue that it is because those small brown seeds look like beetles.’
      • ‘The word spaniel is probably a derivation of the Latin word for Spain, Hispania, reflecting the dog's Spanish heritage.’
      • ‘The derivation of the word ‘quail’ has been charmingly explored by the author who points out that it is an imitative name, cognate with ‘quack’.’
      • ‘The words are of Latin derivation meaning left and right.’
      origin, etymology
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    2. 1.2 Origin; extraction.
      ‘music of primarily Turkish derivation’
      • ‘Although some inventories after death and other records list imported pieces brought to New France by administrators, seigneurs and ecclesiastics, most Canadian furniture of French derivation was probably made locally in small quantities as early as 1640.’
      • ‘The argument conveniently ignores the political reality of devolution, ie that we are Europeans through contribution, not derivation.’
      • ‘Other references to the Igbo derivation of particular masquerades occur in their praise songs.’
      • ‘He is of mainly Dutch derivation, with some Japanese ancestry, as well.’
      • ‘One young man whose derivation, I found out, was by way of Pakistan, had to leave in the middle of the semester.’
    3. 1.3 Something derived; a derivative.
      ‘the derivation “sheepish” has six definitions’
      • ‘Essentially a derivation of sherry, the recipe is attributed to the original French monks who settled at the Abbey in the 1880s.’
  • 2Linguistics
    In generative grammar, the set of stages that link the abstract underlying structure of an expression to its surface form.

    • ‘Moreover, derivation by prefixation of a single consonant would go against the general pattern of word formation in English.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Moreover, their dyslexic subgroup defined by the level of phonological impairment is impaired in suffix deletion and not so much in derivation in sentential contexts.’
    • ‘But there must be some logical explanation and derivation, that fits with the current definition, mustn't there?’
    • ‘Compared with delayed dyslexies, phonological dyslexies were impaired in the suffix deletion task but not in derivation in a sentence context.’
  • 3Mathematics
    The process of deducing a new formula, theorem, etc., from previously accepted statements.

    • ‘The results generated through Stochastic L-Systems are different for every derivation process.’
    • ‘The derivation of the formulas used to construct the graphs is described in MATERIALS AND METHODS.’
    • ‘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]?’’
    • ‘But here is an elementary (no calculus) derivation that pulls together several useful but mostly disregarded in the pre-college mathematics ideas.’
    • ‘His derivation of the estimates is a tour de force and the applications in algebraic geometry are beautiful.’
    1. 3.1 A sequence of statements showing that a formula, theorem, etc., is a consequence of previously accepted statements.
      • ‘After Arbogast died in 1803, Français inherited his mathematical papers and continued to work on the calculus of derivations.’
      • ‘Mathematical derivations and other difficult or detailed materials are often consigned to appendices.’
      • ‘Future work includes full-scale simulation studies and real data analyses, which can verify the mathematical derivations involved in the theory and test the efficiency of the proposed methods.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here is a mathematical derivation of the two values.’


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