differentiate vs specialise what difference

what is difference between differentiate and specialise



From New Latin *differentiatus, past participle of differentiare, from Latin differentia (difference); see difference.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪf.əˈɹɛn.ʃi.eɪt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌdɪ.fəˈɹɛnt.ʃi.eɪt/


differentiate (third-person singular simple present differentiates, present participle differentiating, simple past and past participle differentiated)

  1. (transitive) To show, or be the distinction between two things.
    • 1871, John Earle, The Philology of the English Tongue
      The word “then” was differentiated into the two forms “then” and “than”.
  2. (intransitive) To perceive the difference between things; to discriminate.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To modify, or be modified.
  4. (transitive, mathematics) To calculate the derivative of a function.
  5. (transitive, mathematics) To calculate the differential of a function of multiple variables.
  6. (intransitive, biology) To produce distinct organs or to achieve specific functions by a process of development called differentiation.


  • (to show the distinction between things): differentialize; see also Thesaurus:differentiate
  • (to perceive the difference between things): differentialize; see also Thesaurus:tell apart
  • (to modify): change, transform; see also Thesaurus:alter


  • (to show the distinction between things): equate
  • (to perceive the difference between things): mix up, muddle up
  • (to modify): leave alone, preserve

Derived terms

  • differentiation

Related terms

  • differ
  • difference
  • different
  • differential


Further reading

  • differentiate in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • differentiate in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.


differentiate (plural differentiates)

  1. (geology) Something that has been differentiated or stratified.



specialise (third-person singular simple present specialises, present participle specialising, simple past and past participle specialised)

  1. Non-Oxford British English standard spelling of specialize.

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