1. derivative(def 6).


  1. derived.
  2. not original; secondary.


  1. something that has been derived.
  2. Also called derived form. Grammar. a form that has undergone derivation from another, as atomic from atom.
  3. Chemistry. a substance or compound obtained from, or regarded as derived from, another substance or compound.
  4. Also called differential quotient; especially British, differential coefficient. Mathematics. the limit of the ratio of the increment of a function to the increment of a variable in it, as the latter tends to 0; the instantaneous change of one quantity with respect to another, as velocity, which is the instantaneous change of distance with respect to time.Compare first derivative, second derivative.
  5. a financial contract whose value derives from the value of underlying stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, etc.


  1. resulting from derivation; derived
  2. based on or making use of other sources; not original or primary
  3. copied from others, esp slavishly; plagiaristic


  1. a term, idea, etc, that is based on or derived from another in the same class
  2. a word derived from another word
  3. chem a compound that is formed from, or can be regarded as formed from, a structurally related compoundchloroform is a derivative of methane
  4. maths
    1. Also called: differential coefficient, first derivativethe change of a function, f(x), with respect to an infinitesimally small change in the independent variable, x; the limit of [f(a + Δ x)–f(a)] / Δ x, at x = a, as the increment, Δ x, tends to 0. Symbols: df(x)/d x, f′(x), Df(x)the derivative of x n is nx n–1
    2. the rate of change of one quantity with respect to anothervelocity is the derivative of distance with respect to time
  5. finance a financial instrument, such as a futures contract or option, the price of which is largely determined by the commodity, currency, share price, interest rate, etc, to which it is linked
  6. psychoanal an activity that represents the expression of hidden impulses and desires by channelling them into socially acceptable forms

early 15c. (adj.); mid-15c. (n.), from Middle French dérivatif (15c.), from Late Latin derivat-, past participle stem of Latin derivare (see derive). Mathematical sense is from 1670s.


  1. Something obtained or produced by modification of something else.
  2. A chemical compound that may be produced from another compound of similar structure in one or more steps.


  1. Resulting from, characterized by, or employing derivation.

  1. In calculus, the slope of the tangent line to a curve at a particular point on the curve. Since a curve represents a function, its derivative can also be thought of as the rate of change of the corresponding function at the given point. Derivatives are computed using differentiation.
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