Meaning of DIFFERENTIAL in English

I. ˌdi-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl adjective

Date: 1647


a. : of, relating to, or constituting a difference : distinguishing

b. : making a distinction between individuals or classes

c. : based on or resulting from a differential

d. : functioning or proceeding differently or at a different rate

2. : being, relating to, or involving a differential or differentiation


a. : relating to quantitative differences

b. : producing effects by reason of quantitative differences

• dif·fer·en·tial·ly -ˈren(t)-shə-lē adverb

II. noun

Date: 1704


a. : the product of the derivative of a function of one variable by the increment of the independent variable

b. : a sum of products in which each product consists of a partial derivative of a given function of several variables multiplied by the corresponding increment and which contains as many products as there are independent variables in the function

2. : a difference between comparable individuals or classes

a price differential

also : the amount of such a difference


a. : a drivetrain gear assembly connecting two collinear shafts or axles (as those of the rear wheels of an automobile) and permitting one shaft to revolve faster than the other

b. : a case covering such an assembly

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.