Definition of derive in US English:



[with object]derive something from
  • 1Obtain something from (a specified source)

    ‘they derived great comfort from this assurance’
    • ‘This organization can derive its power from a number of sources, both economic and non-economic.’
    • ‘Healthy rivers and lakes are vital not only because we derive our drinking water from these sources but they are also a means where we and our children pass the time through walks, fishing, swimming, canoeing etc.’
    • ‘In my view help in answering that question can be derived from two sources.’
    • ‘The Africanized sources were derived from colonies obtained locally.’
    • ‘We tell ourselves that we live in the world's greatest democracy, one whose government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.’
    • ‘Fish oil supplements are derived from a variety of sources, including mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, cod liver, halibut, whale blubber and seal blubber.’
    • ‘Recent years have seen considerable criticism and hostility regarding efforts of both courts and commentators to derive constitutional rights from sources other than explicit constitutional language.’
    • ‘She claims her knowledge is derived from visionary sources.’
    • ‘Most of the budget is derived from other sources such as publication revenue.’
    • ‘Stem cells can be derived from sources other than embryos - from adult cells, from umbilical cords that are discarded after babies are born, from human placentas.’
    • ‘Further, the research reveals that half of the genetic components were derived from African sources and that African cotton farmers ‘actively experimented’ with new cotton varieties.’
    • ‘He did repeatedly make clear that his story was derived from what his source said.’
    • ‘Accounts of imagined events are derived from an internal source and are therefore likely to contain cognitive operations, such as thoughts and reasonings.’
    • ‘Apart from its importance as a home for a wide variety of organisms, a large proportion of the world's human population lives close to or derives its food from estuarine or marine sources.’
    • ‘The idea that a democratic government derives its power from the consent of the people it governs is rooted in the belief that this grant of authority comes from an informed people.’
    • ‘However, the practitioners of this art were not medical, and there is little evidence that the doctors of those times derived any knowledge from this potentially rich source of anatomical material.’
    • ‘Indeed, scientists who reject the evolutionary approach are free to derive hypotheses from whatever other sources they wish, including intuition, observation, or psychic cats.’
    • ‘These data suggest that the bulk of the detritus was derived from local sources.’
    • ‘Herbal medicines are derived from natural sources.’
    • ‘Manufacturers have derived some comfort from the fact that sales of canned beer to the off-licence sector have risen by around 7% so far this year.’
    obtain, get, take, gain, acquire, procure, extract, attain, glean
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    1. 1.1derive something from Base a concept on a logical extension or modification of (another concept)
      ‘Eliot derived his poetics from the French Symbolists’
      • ‘For the transactivation system, constructs were derived from those previously generated for Arabidopsis thaliana.’
      • ‘The concepts are derived from many fields, including statistics, psychology, and logic.’
      • ‘Learner-centered practices are derived from the knowledge base and ongoing research on both learners and learning.’
      • ‘As noted above, these checklists have been derived from an extensive survey of literature on literacy in the workplace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even when his conclusions are unsound he often attempts to derive them from Scriptural based premises.’
      • ‘Objective yield indications are derived from models based on observations over the last 5 years for the corresponding months compared with end-of-season yields.’
      • ‘To give one example, should geological theories be factual or should they merely connect concepts that derive their meaning from the theory?’
      • ‘For a new system the problem statement would be derived from a revolutionary new concept or technology, mission needs statement, operational requirements document, and stakeholder issues.’
      • ‘This reasoning derives some justification from an economic argument based on ease of prosecution: such trivial offences are not worth the public expenditure of prosecution and court time in proving fault.’
      • ‘It is from respect for such differences that the democrat derives his belief in equality.’
      • ‘In other words, the rationale for ‘choosing’ a caesarean section was not derived from a positive attitude based on accurate information about the risks and benefits of the procedure, but to avoid negative ‘side effects.’’
      • ‘Finally, I argued that since the two procedures are derived from the same conceptual foundations, they are essentially complementary.’
      • ‘Their opinions are derived from coherent conceptual frameworks, not emotions and propaganda.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Where ‘natural’ here stands for the appearance of freedom from conventional rules of artifice; this concept is derived from the second sense of ‘nature’ given above.’
      • ‘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.’
      found, build, construct, form, establish, ground, root
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    2. 1.2derive fromno object (of a word) have (a specified word, usually of another language) as a root or origin.
      ‘the word “punch” derives from the Hindustani “pancha”’
      ‘the word “man” is derived from the Sanskrit “manu.”’
      • ‘The word stress derives from the Latin word stringer, meaning to draw tight.’
      • ‘The word in English derives from Latin, in - meaning not and dividuus meaning divisible.’
      • ‘This process was called retting (a name which, unsurprisingly, derives from the same root as rot).’
      • ‘The Scots word ‘laird’ is a shortened form of ‘laverd’, an older Scots word deriving from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning lord.’
      • ‘This is apt; the word baroque derives from the Portuguese for malformed pearl.’
      • ‘The villages' name derives from the old English word Slohtre meaning a muddy place.’
      • ‘The word syrup derives from the same Arabic root as the word sherbet.’
      • ‘As many writers have noted, our English words cosmos and cosmetics derive from the same ancient Greek root for universe and ornamentation.’
      • ‘The classical Greeks placed their paintings in pinakothekai, a word deriving from pinas meaning plank.’
      • ‘The word here is possibly derived from the magpie, a noisy, chattering bird.’
      • ‘The English phrase joss money derives from the Portuguese word deos, meaning god.’
      • ‘The word magazine derives from an Arabic word meaning a storehouse, a place where goods are laid up.’
      • ‘The word derives from a Middle English expression, trenden, meaning to revolve.’
      • ‘The word Islam itself, meaning submission to God, derives from the Arabic root word salama, which means peace.’
      • ‘The word copper comes from the Latin word cuprum and this derives from the Greek work Kyprus.’
      • ‘Polis is a triple star in the upper part of the bow, whose name derives from the Coptic word for a foal.’
      • ‘Dharma is etymologically derived from the Sanskrit root dh meaning to bear or support.’
      • ‘In etymological terms, the word Maremma derives from the Latin mare, or sea, and is related to the French marais.’
      • ‘Similarly, dishevelled comes from the Old French deschevelé and was not derived from a word shevelled.’
      • ‘The term derives from the ancient Greek word kanon, which designated a straight rod, ruler, or exemplary model.’
      originate in, have its origins in, have as a source, arise in
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    3. 1.3derive fromno object Arise from or originate in (a specified source)
      ‘words whose spelling derives from Dr. Johnson's incorrect etymology’
      • ‘Most black pigments derive from natural sources, although some processing or preparation might be involved.’
      • ‘A major source of agricultural income derives from wine production.’
      • ‘The only requirement is that any new applications derived from the source code be made available for free.’
      • ‘To this, it added abundant new skilled labour supplies derived from two sources.’
      • ‘The benefits of preserving rainforest derive from two sources.’
      • ‘Rather, what it does demonstrate is a shared outlook deriving from a common ideological source.’
      • ‘Much of the early evidence derives from literary sources, such as the chansons de geste.’
      • ‘The account in the Library might derive from the same source.’
      • ‘Funding for the operations, modernization, and support would derive from three sources.’
      • ‘Yet another source of public confusion derives from psychologists themselves.’
      • ‘The vision of the heroic, conquering bourgeois essentially derives from these sources.’
      • ‘But it would be a long time before you came up with a source of happiness that derived from the beneficence of government.’
      • ‘Instead, they all derive from natural living sources, invariably micro-organisms themselves.’
      • ‘If a legal question is not answered by standards deriving from legal sources then it lacks a legal answer-the law on such questions is unsettled.’
      • ‘His only source of food derives from the charity and goodwill of devotees and locals.’
      • ‘Nearly all regional organizations and alliances derive from treaty-based sources.’
      • ‘They are derived from many sources, and occur in stories all over Europe and in India.’
      • ‘Concepts of good and evil can only be absolute when derived from an absolute source.’
      • ‘Meteoric water, derived from the atmosphere, originates and falls to the Earth as precipitation.’
      • ‘But if justification can supervene on a belief's deriving from a reliable source, they have justified true belief.’
      originate in, have its origin in, be rooted in, be traceable to
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    4. 1.4be derived fromLinguistics (of an expression in a natural language) be linked by a set of stages to (its underlying abstract form).
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You can safely derive the true statement "I am not a Syrian" from the statement "I am an Israeli".’
      • ‘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?’
    5. 1.5be 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’
      • ‘Since gelatin is derived from collagen, it is composed of various amino acids.’
      • ‘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 derived from a substance called permethrin, which was introduced as an alternative to a banned chemical called lindane.’
      • ‘Since olestra is derived from fat molecules, it has similar chemical and physical properties.’
      • ‘It is concentrated in this plant's leaves and is derived from pyridine molecules.’
    6. 1.6Mathematics Obtain (a function or equation) from another by a sequence of logical steps, for example by differentiation.
      • ‘In this book the author gives a table of sines and a method for deriving the angles of a triangle if its sides are known.’
      • ‘The fractional form that we have derived is called the continued fraction.’
      • ‘He worked on how to derive class number relations from modular equations.’
      • ‘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.’


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’.