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[vair-ee-ey-shuh n] /ˌvɛər iˈeɪ ʃən/
the act, process, or accident of varying in condition, character, or degree:
Prices are subject to variation.
an instance of this:
There is a variation in the quality of fabrics in this shipment.
amount, rate, extent, or degree of change:
a temperature variation of 40° in a particular climate.
a different form of something; variant.
  1. the transformation of a melody or theme with changes or elaborations in harmony, rhythm, and melody.
  2. a varied form of a melody or theme, especially one of a series of such forms developing the capacities of the subject.
Ballet. a solo dance, especially one forming a section of a pas de deux.
Astronomy. any deviation from the mean orbit of a heavenly body, especially of a planetary or satellite orbit.
Also called magnetic declination, magnetic variation. Navigation. the angle between the geographic and the magnetic meridian at a given point, expressed in plus degrees east or minus degrees west of true north.
Compare deviation (def 4).
Biology. a difference or deviation in structure or character from others of the same species or group.
1350-1400; < Latin variātiōn- (stem of variātiō), equivalent to variāt(us) (see variate) + -iōn- -ion; replacing Middle English variacioun < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related forms
variational, variative
[vair-ee-ey-tiv] /ˈvɛər iˌeɪ tɪv/ (Show IPA),
variationally, variatively, adverb
intervariation, noun
nonvariation, noun
overvariation, noun
prevariation, noun
self-variation, noun
1. mutation, alteration, modification; deviation, divergence, difference. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for variations
  • German culture has always celebrated the many regional variations of its food and beer.
  • There are two variations of this type of duffel bag.
  • Print out your favorite master recipes from the following pages and try them with our tasty variations.
  • Then try our variations, or be creative and customize your own.
  • The flowers of the new hybrids come in amazing variations including doubles so it's best to buy them in bloom.
  • But vintage variations are often differences of character, not quality.
  • Big variations take organisms out of adaptive focus and are worthless.
  • The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds.
  • Quite possibly the good fights in higher education are variations on a theme: tradition versus innovation.
  • Poker players will have seen many variations, including dogs playing cards.
British Dictionary definitions for variations


the act, process, condition, or result of changing or varying; diversity
an instance of varying or the amount, rate, or degree of such change
something that differs from a standard or convention
  1. a repetition of a musical theme in which the rhythm, harmony, or melody is altered or embellished
  2. (as modifier): variation form
  1. a marked deviation from the typical form or function
  2. a characteristic or an organism showing this deviation
(astronomy) any change in or deviation from the mean motion or orbit of a planet, satellite, etc, esp a perturbation of the moon
another word for magnetic declination
(ballet) a solo dance
(linguistics) any form of morphophonemic change, such as one involved in inflection, conjugation, or vowel mutation
Derived Forms
variational, adjective
variationally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for variations



late 14c., from Old French variation, from Latin variationem (nominative variatio) "a difference, variation, change," from past participle stem of variare "to change" (see vary). The musical sense is attested from 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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variations in Medicine

variation var·i·a·tion (vâr'ē-ā'shən, vār'-)

  1. The act, process, or result of varying.

  2. The state or fact of being varied.

  3. The extent or degree to which something varies.

  4. Something slightly different from another of the same type.

  5. Marked difference or deviation from the normal or recognized form, function, or structure.

  6. An organism exhibiting such difference or deviation.

  7. A function that relates the values of one variable to those of other variables.

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