1. Resulting from or employing derivation: a derivative word; a derivative process.
2. Copied or adapted from others: a highly derivative prose style.
1. Something derived.
2. Linguistics A word formed from another by derivation, such as electricity from electric.
a. The limiting value of the ratio of the change in a function to the corresponding change in its independent variable.
b. The instantaneous rate of change of a function with respect to its variable.
c. The slope of the tangent line to the graph of a function at a given point. Also called differential coefficient, fluxion.
4. Chemistry A compound derived or obtained from another and containing essential elements of the parent substance.
5. A financial instrument that derives its value from another more fundamental asset, as a commitment to buy a bond for a certain sum on a certain date.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.