1. the act or process of differentiating, or the state of being differentiated.
  2. Mathematics. the operation of finding the differential or derivative of a function.
  3. Biology. the process by which cells or tissues change from relatively generalized to specialized kinds, during development.


  1. the act, process, or result of differentiating
  2. maths an operation used in calculus in which the derivative of a function or variable is determined; the inverse of integrationSee integration (def. 6)
  3. any process in which a mixture of materials separates out partially or completely into its constituent parts, as in the cooling and solidification of a magma into two or more different rock types or in the gradual separation of an originally homogeneous earth into crust, mantle, and core


  1. The acquisition or possession of a character or function different from that of the original type.specialization
  2. differential diagnosis

  1. In calculus, the process of computing the derivative of a function. Compare integration.
  2. The process by which cells or parts of an organism change during development to serve a specific function. The cells of an animal in its early embryonic phase, for example, are identical at first but develop by differentiation into specific tissues, such as bone, heart muscle, and skin. The factors determining the differentiation of any particular cell are not well understood, but in deuterostomes (vertebrates and other complex animals) they include the location of the cell relative to other cells.

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