a. The act or process of deriving.
b. The state or fact of being derived; origination: a custom of recent derivation.
c. Something derived; a derivative.
2. The form or source from which something is derived; an origin.
a. The historical origin and development of a word; an etymology.
b. The process by which words are formed from existing words or bases by adding affixes, as singer from sing or undo from do, by changing the shape of the word or base, as song from sing, or by adding an affix and changing the pronunciation of the word or base, as electricity from electric.
c. In generative linguistics, the generation of a linguistic structure through an ordered or partially ordered series of operations on other structures, such as the creation of a surface structure from a deep structure, or of a complex word from its morphological components.
d. The formal description of the process of such generation.
4. Logic & Mathematics A logical or mathematical process indicating through a sequence of statements that a result such as a theorem or a formula necessarily follows from the initial assumptions.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.