the state, quality, or fact of being variable, divergent, different, or anomalous.
an instance of varying; difference; discrepancy.
Also called mean square deviation. Statistics. the square of the standard deviation.
Physics, Chemistry. the number of degrees of freedom of a system.
a difference or discrepancy, as between two statements or documents in law that should agree.
a departure from the cause of action originally stated in the complaint.
an official permit to do something normally forbidden by regulations, especially by building in a way or for a purpose normally forbidden by a zoning law or a building code.
a disagreement, dispute, or quarrel.
at variance,
(of things) in a state of difference or disagreement.
(of persons) in a state of controversy or dissension: at variance with one's superiors.

1300–50; Middle English < Latin variantia, equivalent to vari(āre) to vary) + -antia -ance

nonvariance, noun
self-variance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
variance (ˈvɛərɪəns)
1.  the act of varying or the quality, state, or degree of being divergent; discrepancy
2.  an instance of diverging; dissension: our variance on this matter should not affect our friendship
3.  at variance
 a.  (often foll by with) (of facts, etc) not in accord; conflicting
 b.  (of persons) in a state of dissension
4.  statistics a measure of dispersion obtained by taking the mean of the squared deviations of the observed values from their mean in a frequency distribution
5.  a difference or discrepancy between two steps in a legal proceeding, esp between a statement in a pleading and the evidence given to support it
6.  (in the US and Canada) a licence or authority issued by the board of variance to contravene the usual rule, esp to build contrary to the provision of a zoning code
7.  chem the number of degrees of freedom of a system, used in the phase rule
8.  accounting the difference between actual and standard costs of production

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "fact of undergoing change," from O.Fr. variance, from L. variantia, from variare "to change" (see vary). Meaning "state of disagreement" is recorded from early 15c. The U.S. zoning sense of "official dispensation from a building regulation" is recorded from 1925.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

variance var·i·ance (vâr'ē-əns, vār'-)

  1. The state or quality of being variant or variable; a variation.

  2. The state or fact of differing or of being in conflict.

  3. The square of the standard deviation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in statistics, the square of the standard deviation of a sample or set of data, used procedurally to analyze the factors that may influence the distribution or spread of the data under consideration. See mean.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The difference is the variance due to true team ability.
Beyond that, variance increases dramatically, with extrapolation and factors
  estimation becoming widely speculative.
Long intervals of quiet may be well within the natural variance of such a cycle.
The phenotype consists of the genotype variance plus the environmental variance.
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