< / Δ x, at x = a, as the increment, Δ x, tends to 0. Symbols: df(x)/d x, f′(x), Df(x)the derivative of x n is nx n–1

  • the rate of change of one quantity with respect to anothervelocity is the derivative of distance with respect to time
  • finance a financial instrument, such as a futures contract or option, the price of which is largely determined by the commodity, currency, share price, interest rate, etc, to which it is linked
  • psychoanal an activity that represents the expression of hidden impulses and desires by channelling them into socially acceptable forms
  • early 15c. (adj.); mid-15c. (n.), from Middle French dérivatif (15c.), from Late Latin derivat-, past participle stem of Latin derivare (see derive). Mathematical sense is from 1670s.


    1. Something obtained or produced by modification of something else.
    2. A chemical compound that may be produced from another compound of similar structure in one or more steps.


    1. Resulting from, characterized by, or employing derivation.

    1. In calculus, the slope of the tangent line to a curve at a particular point on the curve. Since a curve represents a function, its derivative can also be thought of as the rate of change of the corresponding function at the given point. Derivatives are computed using differentiation.

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