— differentially , adv.
/dif'euh ren"sheuhl/ , adj.
1. of or pertaining to difference or diversity.
2. constituting a difference; distinguishing; distinctive: a differential feature.
3. exhibiting or depending upon a difference or distinction.
4. Physics , Mach. pertaining to or involving the difference of two or more motions, forces, etc.
5. Math. pertaining to or involving a derivative or derivatives.
6. a difference or the amount of difference, as in rate, cost, quantity, degree, or quality, between things that are comparable.
7. Also called differential gear . Mach. an epicyclic train of gears designed to permit two or more shafts to rotate at different speeds, as a set of gears in an automobile permitting the rear wheels to be driven at different speeds when the car is turning.
a. a function of two variables that is obtained from a given function, y = f ( x ), and that expresses the approximate increment in the given function as the derivative of the function times the increment in the independent variable, written as dy = f' ( x ) dx.
b. any generalization of this function to higher dimensions.
a. the difference involved in a differential rate.
b. See differential rate .
10. Physics. the quantitative difference between two or more forces, motions, etc.: a pressure differential.
[ 1640-50; differentialis, equiv. to differenti ( a ) DIFFERENCE + alis -AL ]