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differentiation

Differentiation is how someone or something is set apart from others. If you make a differentiation between one brand of toothpaste and another, you point out how they're distinct.

You can see the word different in differentiation. The -tion ending tips you off that differentiation is the noun form of different: differentiation refers to the differences themselves. Suppose two very similar movies come out at the same time. The studios will work to achieve differentiation in the films' trailers, with one highlighting the chemistry between the romantic leads and the other showing moments of slap-stick comedy.

Definitions of differentiation
  1. noun
    a discrimination between things as different and distinct
    synonyms: distinction
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    types:
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    contradistinction
    a distinction drawn on the basis of contrast
    contrast, demarcation, dividing line, line
    a conceptual separation or distinction
    hairsplitting, word-splitting
    making too fine distinctions of little importance
    Rubicon, point of no return
    a line that when crossed permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment
    type of:
    discrimination, secernment
    the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
  2. noun
    the mathematical process of obtaining the derivative of a function
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    type of:
    mathematical operation, mathematical process, operation
    (mathematics) calculation by mathematical methods
  3. noun
    (biology) the structural adaptation of some body part for a particular function
    “cell differentiation in the developing embryo”
    synonyms: specialisation, specialization
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    type of:
    adaptation, adaption, adjustment
    the process of adapting to something (such as environmental conditions)
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