What does differential mean?

Definitions for differential
ˌdɪf əˈrɛn ʃəldif·fer·en·tial

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word differential.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. derived function, derivative, differential coefficient, differential, first derivativenoun

    the result of mathematical differentiation; the instantaneous change of one quantity relative to another; df(x)/dx

  2. differentialnoun

    a quality that differentiates between similar things

  3. differential gear, differentialadjective

    a bevel gear that permits rotation of two shafts at different speeds; used on the rear axle of automobiles to allow wheels to rotate at different speeds on curves

  4. differentialadjective

    relating to or showing a difference

    "differential treatment"

  5. differentialadjective

    involving or containing one or more derivatives

    "differential equation"


  1. differentialnoun

    the differential gear in an automobile etc

  2. differentialnoun

    a qualitative or quantitative difference between similar or comparable things

  3. differentialnoun

    an infinitesimal change in a variable, or the result of differentiation

  4. differentialadjective

    of, or relating to a difference

  5. differentialadjective

    dependent on, or making a difference; distinctive

  6. differentialadjective

    having differences in speed or direction of motion

  7. differentialadjective

    of, or relating to differentiation, or the differential calculus


  1. differential

    A differential is a mathematical tool used in calculus that represents a small change in a variable. In an equation, it measures the rate at which one quantity changes relative to another. It is often represented by the symbol 'dx' or 'dy'. In a broader sense, in fields such as engineering or physics, "differential" can refer to the process used in differential equations which describe the relationship between variables and their rates of change.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Differentialadjective

    relating to or indicating a difference; creating a difference; discriminating; special; as, differential characteristics; differential duties; a differential rate

  2. Differentialadjective

    of or pertaining to a differential, or to differentials

  3. Differentialadjective

    relating to differences of motion or leverage; producing effects by such differences; said of mechanism

  4. Differentialnoun

    an increment, usually an indefinitely small one, which is given to a variable quantity

  5. Differentialnoun

    a small difference in rates which competing railroad lines, in establishing a common tariff, allow one of their number to make, in order to get a fair share of the business. The lower rate is called a differential rate. Differentials are also sometimes granted to cities

  6. Differentialnoun

    one of two coils of conducting wire so related to one another or to a magnet or armature common to both, that one coil produces polar action contrary to that of the other

  7. Differentialnoun

    a form of conductor used for dividing and distributing the current to a series of electric lamps so as to maintain equal action in all

  8. Etymology: [Cf. F. diffrentiel.]


  1. Differential

    A differential is a device, usually, but not necessarily, employing gears, which is connected to the outside world by three shafts, chains, or similar, through which it transmits torque and rotation. The gears or other components make the three shafts rotate in such a way that, where, and are the angular velocities of the three shafts, and and are constants. Often, but not always, and are equal, so is proportional to the sum of and . Except in some special-purpose differentials, there are no other limitations on the rotational speeds of the shafts, apart from the usual mechanical/engineering limits. Any of the shafts can be used to input rotation, and the other to output it. See animation of a simple differential in which and are equal. The shaft rotating at speed is at the bottom-right of the image. In automobiles and other wheeled vehicles, a differential is the usual way to allow the driving roadwheels to rotate at different speeds. This is necessary when the vehicle turns, making the wheel that is travelling around the outside of the turning curve roll farther and faster than the other. The engine is connected to the shaft rotating at angular velocity . The driving wheels are connected to the other two shafts, and and are equal. If the engine is running at a constant speed, the rotational speed of each driving wheel can vary, but the sum of the two wheels' speeds can not change. An increase in the speed of one wheel must be balanced by an equal decrease in the speed of the other.

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How to pronounce differential?

How to say differential in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of differential in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of differential in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of differential in a Sentence

  1. Simon Chadwick:

    There is a clear and deliberate strategic intent on the part of the Cristiano Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo business representatives, the intention has been to create and position a brand that provides consumers with a differential advantage over its rivals.

  2. Alan Turing:

    Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.

  3. Rogelio Moreno:

    To take this image, I used a flash to freeze the movement of the rotifer and differential interference contrast( DIC) to show the beautiful details and the blue background.

  4. An Australian origination manager:

    For many Australian corporations, Green bonds are a good fit because they have natural green assets that can be ring-fenced for these instruments, as far as pricing is concerned, I do not expect a differential to develop between Green and standard bonds with the growth of the Green market likely to happen naturally as more investors participate in a widening array of Green-specific projects.

  5. Catherine Barber:

    What’s so striking to me is the differential burden for young black men. You don’t see these sort of differentials in health data very often, the scale is so huge for young black men – 90 per 100,000 for firearm homicides.

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Translations for differential

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • диференциален, диференциал, отличителен, разграничителенBulgarian
  • diferenciálníCzech
  • διάφορος, διαφορικό, διαφορικόςGreek
  • diferencialSpanish
  • ero, differentiaaliFinnish
  • différentielFrench
  • דיפרנציאלHebrew
  • differenciálHungarian
  • דִיפֵר� נציִאָלִיHebrew
  • różniczka, różnicowy, różniczkowyPolish
  • дифференциа́льный, дифференциа́лRussian
  • differential, differensSwedish
  • diferansiyelTurkish
  • 微分Chinese

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"differential." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/differential>.

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