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derive definition


This page has 15 definitions of derive with English translations in 5 languages. Derive is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use derive in a sentence are shown. Also define these 23 related words and terms: obtain, receive, logic, deduce, conclusion, reasoning, linguistics, derivation, word, phrase, chemistry, create, compound, reaction, originate, stem, divert, derivar, deriva, usted, yo, él, and ella.

See also: derivé, dérivé, and rive

English derive definition


From Middle English deriven, from Old French deriver, from Latin dērīvō (to lead, turn, or draw off (a liquid), draw off, derive), from (away) + rīvus (a stream); see rival.



derive (third-person singular simple present derives, present participle deriving, simple past and past participle derived)

  1. (transitive) To obtain or receive (something) from something else.
    • 2013 July-August, Sarah Glaz, “Ode to Prime Numbers”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Some poems, echoing the purpose of early poetic treatises on scientific principles, attempt to elucidate the mathematical concepts that underlie prime numbers. Others play with primes’ cultural associations. Still others derive their structure from mathematical patterns involving primes.
    • Receive definition
      To take, as something that is offered, given, committed, sent, paid, etc.; to accept; to be given something. (1 of 10 receive definitions)
  2. (transitive, logic) To deduce (a conclusion) by reasoning.
  3. (transitive, linguistics) To find the derivation of (a word or phrase).
    • Linguistics definition
      The scientific study of language.
    • Word definition

      The smallest unit of language that has a particular meaning and can be expressed by itself; the smallest discrete, meaningful unit of language.

      1. The smallest discrete unit of spoken language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more phonemes and one or more morphemes
      2. The smallest discrete unit of written language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more letters or symbols and one or more morphemes
      3. A discrete, meaningful unit of language approved by an authority or native speaker (compare non-word).
      (1 of 21 word definitions)
  4. (transitive, chemistry) To create (a compound) from another by means of a reaction.
    • Chemistry definition
      The branch of natural science that deals with the composition and constitution of substances and the changes that they undergo as a consequence of alterations in the constitution of their molecules. (1 of 3 chemistry definitions)
  5. (intransitive) To originate or stem (from).
    • 2012 January 1, Robert M. Pringle, “How to Be Manipulative”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 31:
      As in much of biology, the most satisfying truths in ecology derive from manipulative experimentation. Tinker with nature and quantify how it responds.
    her excellent organisation skills derive from her time as a secretary in the army
    • Originate definition
      To cause (someone or something) to be; to bring (someone or something) into existence; to produce or initiate a person or thing. (1 of 2 originate definitions)
    • Stem definition
      The stock of a family; a race or generation of progenitors. (1 of 17 stem definitions)
  6. To turn the course of (water, etc.); to divert and distribute into subordinate channels.

Derived terms


Further reading


Asturian derive definition



  1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive of derivar
    • Derivar definition
      to derive

Italian derive definition


derive f pl

  1. plural of deriva
    • Deriva definition
      inflection of derivar: third-person singular present indicative second-person singular imperative (1 of 3 deriva definitions)


Portuguese derive definition



  1. inflection of derivar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. first/third-person singular imperative

Spanish derive definition



  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of derivar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of derivar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of derivar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of derivar.
    • Él definition
    • Ella definition