What does variance mean?

Definitions for variance
ˈvɛər i ənsvari·ance

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. discrepancy, variance, variantnoun

    an event that departs from expectations

  2. division, variancenoun

    discord that splits a group

  3. variancenoun

    the second moment around the mean; the expected value of the square of the deviations of a random variable from its mean value

  4. discrepancy, disagreement, divergence, variancenoun

    a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions

    "a growing divergence of opinion"

  5. variability, variableness, variancenoun

    the quality of being subject to variation

  6. variancenoun

    an official dispensation to act contrary to a rule or regulation (typically a building regulation)

    "a zoning variance"

  7. variation, variancenoun

    an activity that varies from a norm or standard

    "any variation in his routine was immediately reported"


  1. Variancenoun

    (Statistics) The expected value of the square of the deviation from the mean of a randomly distributed variable; the second moment about the mean. This is also the square of the standard deviation.


  1. variancenoun

    The act of varying or the state of being variable

  2. variancenoun

    A difference between what is expected and what happens

  3. variancenoun

    The state of differing or being in conflict

  4. variancenoun

    A discrepancy, especially between two legal documents

  5. variancenoun

    The second central moment in probability

  6. Etymology: From variance.


  1. Variance

    In probability theory and statistics, variance is the expectation of the squared deviation of a random variable from its population mean or sample mean. Variance is a measure of dispersion, meaning it is a measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out from their average value. Variance has a central role in statistics, where some ideas that use it include descriptive statistics, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, goodness of fit, and Monte Carlo sampling. Variance is an important tool in the sciences, where statistical analysis of data is common. The variance is the square of the standard deviation, the second central moment of a distribution, and the covariance of the random variable with itself, and it is often represented by σ 2 {\displaystyle \sigma ^{2}} , s 2 {\displaystyle s^{2}} , Var ⁡ ( X ) {\displaystyle \operatorname {Var} (X)} , V ( X ) {\displaystyle V(X)} , or V ( X ) {\displaystyle \mathbb {V} (X)} .An advantage of variance as a measure of dispersion is that it is more amenable to algebraic manipulation than other measures of dispersion such as the expected absolute deviation; for example, the variance of a sum of uncorrelated random variables is equal to the sum of their variances. A disadvantage of the variance for practical applications is that, unlike the standard deviation, its units differ from the random variable, which is why the standard deviation is more commonly reported as a measure of dispersion once the calculation is finished. There are two distinct concepts that are both called "variance". One, as discussed above, is part of a theoretical probability distribution and is defined by an equation. The other variance is a characteristic of a set of observations. When variance is calculated from observations, those observations are typically measured from a real world system. If all possible observations of the system are present then the calculated variance is called the population variance. Normally, however, only a subset is available, and the variance calculated from this is called the sample variance. The variance calculated from a sample is considered an estimate of the full population variance. There are multiple ways to calculate an estimate of the population variance, as discussed in the section below. The two kinds of variance are closely related. To see how, consider that a theoretical probability distribution can be used as a generator of hypothetical observations. If an infinite number of observations are generated using a distribution, then the sample variance calculated from that infinite set will match the value calculated using the distribution's equation for variance.


  1. variance

    Variance is a statistical measurement that represents how much a set of observations differ from each other. More specifically, it is the average of the squared differences from the mean, providing a measure of the data's spread or dispersion. In other words, the greater the variance, the more scattered the data points are.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Variancenoun

    the quality or state of being variant; change of condition; variation

  2. Variancenoun

    difference that produce dispute or controversy; disagreement; dissension; discord; dispute; quarrel

  3. Variancenoun

    a disagreement or difference between two parts of the same legal proceeding, which, to be effectual, ought to agree, -- as between the writ and the declaration, or between the allegation and the proof

  4. Etymology: [L. variantia.]


  1. Variance

    In probability theory and statistics, the variance is a measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out. It is one of several descriptors of a probability distribution, describing how far the numbers lie from the mean. In particular, the variance is one of the moments of a distribution. In that context, it forms part of a systematic approach to distinguishing between probability distributions. While other such approaches have been developed, those based on moments are advantageous in terms of mathematical and computational simplicity. The variance is a parameter describing in part either the actual probability distribution of an observed population of numbers, or the theoretical probability distribution of a sample of numbers. In the latter case a sample of data from such a distribution can be used to construct an estimate of its variance: in the simplest cases this estimate can be the sample variance.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Variance

    vā′ri-ans, n. state of being varied: an alteration: a change of condition: (law) a discrepancy: difference that arises from, or produces, dispute.—n. Vā′riant, a different form of the same original word: a different reading, e.g. in a manuscript.—adj. diverse, variable, inconstant.—At variance, in disagreement.

How to pronounce variance?

How to say variance in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of variance in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of variance in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of variance in a Sentence

  1. Laurence Wormald:

    Crowding and herding is the big problem with smart-beta, the illusion of being able to permanently depress the risk on equities through smart-beta or minimum-variance strategies has been very, very appealing, and a lot of money has piled in, but that delusion cannot be kept up because it's based on a strategy that doesn't work when the crowd arrives.

  2. Roger Noll:

    In general, mega events usually cost more than they bring in for a city government, but there is lots of variance.

  3. Kyle Kondik:

    He has the most variance between risk and reward.

  4. Richard Achiro:

    Men are using the supplements in a way that is risky both to their physical health and their health in terms of relationships and their own emotional wellbeing, it is an expression, or variance, of eating disorder behavior in these men.

  5. Roger Noll:

    Frost belt cities do better because few people visit them in the winter, in general, mega events usually cost more than they bring in for a city government, but there is lots of variance.

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Translations for variance

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • rozptylCzech
  • VarianzGerman
  • varianzaSpanish
  • bariantzaBasque
  • eripuraisuus, erimielisyys, varianssiFinnish
  • varianceFrench
  • varianzaItalian
  • 分散Japanese
  • variantie, onverwacht, afwijkend, contradictorisch, tegenspraakDutch
  • wariancjaPolish
  • discrepanță, variație, diferență, variere, contradicțieRomanian
  • разногласие, противоречие, дисперсия, расхождение, несоответствие, отклоне́ниеRussian
  • వైవిధ్యంTelugu
  • ความแปรปรวนThai

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"variance." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 12 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/variance>.

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    A soft-witted
    B appellative
    C aculeate
    D unsealed

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