adjective

- of or relating to difference or diversity.
- constituting a difference; distinguishing; distinctive: a differential feature.
- exhibiting or depending upon a difference or distinction.
- Physics, Machinery. pertaining to or involving the difference of two or more motions, forces, etc.
- Mathematics. pertaining to or involving a derivative or derivatives.

noun

- a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.
- Also called differential gear. Machinery. an epicyclic train of gears designed to permit two or more shafts to rotate at different speeds, as a set of gears in an automobile permitting the rear wheels to be driven at different speeds when the car is turning.
- Mathematics.
- a function of two variables that is obtained from a given function, y = f(x), and that expresses the approximate increment in the given function as the derivative of the function times the increment in the independent variable, written as dy = f′(x)dx.
- any generalization of this function to higher dimensions.

- Commerce.
- the difference involved in a differential rate.
- differential rate.

- Physics. the quantitative difference between two or more forces, motions, etc.: a pressure differential.

adjective

- of, relating to, or using a difference
- constituting a difference; distinguishing
- maths of, containing, or involving one or more derivatives or differentials
- physics engineering relating to, operating on, or based on the difference between two effects, motions, forces, etcdifferential amplifier

noun

- a factor that differentiates between two comparable things
- maths
- an increment in a given function, expressed as the product of the derivative of that function and the corresponding increment in the independent variable
- an increment in a given function of two or more variables, f(x 1, x 2, … x n), expressed as the sum of the products of each partial derivative and the increment in the corresponding variable

- an epicyclic gear train that permits two shafts to rotate at different speeds while being driven by a third shaftSee also differential gear
- mainly British the difference between rates of pay for different types of labour, esp when forming a pay structure within an industry
- (in commerce) a difference in rates, esp between comparable labour services or transportation routes

1640s, from Medieval Latin differentialis, from Latin differentia (see difference). Related: Differentially.

- An infinitesimal increment in a variable.
- The product of the derivative of a function of one variable and the increment of the independent variable.