from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To obtain or receive from a source.
  • transitive v. To arrive at by reasoning; deduce or infer: derive a conclusion from facts.
  • transitive v. To trace the origin or development of (a word).
  • transitive v. Linguistics To generate (one structure) from another or from a set of others.
  • transitive v. Chemistry To produce or obtain (a compound) from another substance by chemical reaction.
  • intransitive v. To issue from a source; originate. See Synonyms at stem1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To obtain or receive (something) from something else.
  • v. To deduce (a conclusion) by reasoning.
  • v. To find the derivation of (a word or phrase).
  • v. To create (a compound) from another by means of a reaction.
  • v. To originate or stem (from).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To flow; to have origin; to descend; to proceed; to be deduced.
  • transitive v. To turn the course of, as water; to divert and distribute into subordinate channels; to diffuse; to communicate; to transmit; -- followed by to, into, on, upon.
  • transitive v. To receive, as from a source or origin; to obtain by descent or by transmission; to draw; to deduce; -- followed by from.
  • transitive v. To trace the origin, descent, or derivation of; to recognize transmission of.
  • transitive v. To obtain one substance from another by actual or theoretical substitution.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To turn aside or divert, as water or other fluid, from its natural course or channel: as, to derive water from the main channel or current into lateral rivulets.
  • Figuratively, to turn aside; divert.
  • To draw or receive, as from a source or origin, or by regular transmission: as, to derive ideas from the senses; to derive instruction from a book; his estate is derived from his ancestors.
  • Specifically To draw or receive (a word) from a more original root or stem: as, the word ‘rule’ is derived from the Latin; ‘feed’ is derived from ‘food.’ See derivation
  • To deduce, as from premises; trace, as from a source or origin: involving a personal subject.
  • To communicate or transfer from one to another, as by descent.
  • To come, proceed, or be derived.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. come from; be connected by a relationship of blood, for example
  • v. develop or evolve from a latent or potential state
  • v. reason by deduction; establish by deduction
  • v. come from
  • v. obtain


Middle English deriven, to be derived from, from Old French deriver, from Latin dērīvāre, to derive, draw off : dē-, de- + rīvus, stream; see rei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English deriven, from Old French deriver, from Latin derivare ("to lead, turn, or draw off (a liquid), draw off, derive"), from de ("away") + rivus ("a stream"); see rival. (Wiktionary)



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