the act or process of differentiating, or the state of being differentiated.
Mathematics. the operation of finding the differential or derivative of a function.
Biology. the process by which cells or tissues change from relatively generalized to specialized kinds, during development.

1800–10; differentiat(e) + -ion

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World English Dictionary
differentiation (ˌdɪfəˌrɛnʃɪˈeɪʃən)
1.  the act, process, or result of differentiating
2.  maths See integration an operation used in calculus in which the derivative of a function or variable is determined; the inverse of integration
3.  any process in which a mixture of materials separates out partially or completely into its constituent parts, as in the cooling and solidification of a magma into two or more different rock types or in the gradual separation of an originally homogeneous earth into crust, mantle, and core

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

differentiation dif·fer·en·ti·a·tion (dĭf'ə-rěn'shē-ā'shən)

  1. The acquisition or possession of a character or function different from that of the original type. Also called specialization.

  2. See differential diagnosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
differentiation   (dĭf'ə-rěn'shē-ā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. In calculus, the process of computing the derivative of a function. Compare integration.

  2. The process by which cells or parts of an organism change during development to serve a specific function. The cells of an animal in its early embryonic phase, for example, are identical at first but develop by differentiation into specific tissues, such as bone, heart muscle, and skin. The factors determining the differentiation of any particular cell are not well understood, but in deuterostomes (vertebrates and other complex animals) they include the location of the cell relative to other cells.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for Differentiation
Dragons have no gender differentiation, but lay large, scaled eggs to reproduce.
The process of finding the derivative is called differentiation.
High grade shows little differentiation and the prognosis is therefore poor.
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