Meaning of DIFFERENTIAL in English

I. |difə|renchəl adjective

Etymology: probably from French différentiel, from Middle French differentiel, from different + -iel -ial


a. : of, relating to, or constituting a difference or distinction : distinguishing : making a difference or distinction between individuals or classes

differential legislation such as income tax laws

b. : based upon or resulting from a differential

differential freight charges

c. : functioning or proceeding differently or at a different rate (as among members of a group or parts of a whole)

differential melting results in an occasional sunken pool in the surface of the glacier

specifically : resulting from crustal movements whereby one part of the earth's crust is displaced in relation to other parts

2. : relating to or involving a differential or differentiation

3. : relating to quantitative differences (as of motion, area, pressure, or leverage) : producing effects by reason of such differences

II. noun

( -s )


a. : an arbitrary increment of an independent variable

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

c. : the sum of the products of each partial derivative of several variables by the arbitrary increment of the corresponding variable


a. : a difference between transportation rates over two routes to the same point or over routes to different points competing for the same traffic often allowed to one or more of a number of carriers in order to insure equality in the distribution of traffic among competing lines — compare differential route

b. : an amount added to or deducted from a basic transportation rate, fare, or charge — compare port differential


a. : a difference in wage rate for similar work of comparable quality and quantity granted or imposed as a reflection of varying circumstances (as in location or time of work) or of varying status (as of race or sex)

a shift differential consisting of additional pay for night work

b. : a difference in wage reflecting difference in job duties, complexity of tasks, volume or quality of production, level of skill required

4. : the price difference between the basic grade and a superior or inferior grade of a commodity deliverable on a contract


a. : differential gear

b. : planet differential

6. : the amount or degree by which comparable individuals or classes of individuals differ in some particular respect

wide differentials in living standards between the two countries

: a difference between comparable things

price differential between regular and high-test gasoline

7. : differential blood count

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.