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- of, or relating to a difference
- dependent on, or making a difference; distinctive
- having differences in speed or direction of motion
- (mathematics) of, or relating to differentiation, or the differential calculus
- the differential gear in an automobile etc
- a qualitative or quantitative difference between similar or comparable things
- (mathematics) an infinitesimal change in a variable, or the result of differentiation
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Dif`fer*en"tial (?), a. [Cf. F.
différentiel.] 1. Relating to or
indicating a difference; creating a difference; discriminating;
special; as, differential characteristics; differential
duties; a differential rate.
For whom he produced differential
2. (Math.) Of or pertaining to a
differential, or to differentials.
3. (Mech.) Relating to differences of
motion or leverage; producing effects by such differences; said of
Differential calculus. (Math.) See
under Calculus. -- Differential
coefficient, the limit of the ratio of the increment of
a function of a variable to the increment of the variable itself,
when these increments are made indefinitely small. --
Differential coupling, a form of slip coupling
used in light machinery to regulate at pleasure the velocity of the
connected shaft. -- Differential duties
(Polit. Econ.), duties which are not imposed equally upon
the same products imported from different countries. --
Differential galvanometer (Elec.), a
galvanometer having two coils or circuits, usually equal, through
which currents passing in opposite directions are measured by the
difference of their effect upon the needle. --
Differential gearing, a train of toothed
wheels, usually an epicyclic train, so arranged as to constitute a
differential motion. -- Differential
motion, a mechanism in which a simple
differential combination produces such a change of motion or
force as would, with ordinary compound arrangements, require a
considerable train of parts. It is used for overcoming great
resistance or producing very slow or very rapid motion. --
Differential pulley. (Mach.)
(a) A portable hoisting apparatus, the same in
principle as the differential windlass. (b)
A hoisting pulley to which power is applied through a
differential gearing. -- Differential screw,
a compound screw by which a motion is produced equal to the
difference of the motions of the component screws. --
Differential thermometer, a thermometer usually
with a U-shaped tube terminating in two air bulbs, and containing a
colored liquid, used for indicating the difference between the
temperatures to which the two bulbs are exposed, by the change of
position of the colored fluid, in consequence of the different
expansions of the air in the bulbs. A graduated scale is attached to
one leg of the tube. -- Differential windlass,
or Chinese windlass, a windlass whose
barrel has two parts of different diameters. The hoisting rope winds
upon one part as it unwinds from the other, and a pulley sustaining
the weight to be lifted hangs in the bight of the rope. It is an
ancient example of a differential motion.
Dif`fer*en"tial, n. 1.
(Math.) An increment, usually an indefinitely small one,
which is given to a variable quantity.
&fist; According to the more modern writers upon the differential
and integral calculus, if two or more quantities are dependent on
each other, and subject to increments of value, their
differentials need not be small, but are any quantities whose
ratios to each other are the limits to which the ratios of the
increments approximate, as these increments are reduced nearer and
nearer to zero.
2. A small difference in rates which
competing railroad lines, in establishing a common tariff, allow one
of their number to make, in order to get a fair share of the
business. The lower rate is called a differential rate.
Differentials are also sometimes granted to cities.
3. (Elec.) (a) One of
two coils of conducting wire so related to one another or to a magnet
or armature common to both, that one coil produces polar action
contrary to that of the other. (b) A form
of conductor used for dividing and distributing the current to a
series of electric lamps so as to maintain equal action in all.
Partial differential (Math.), the
differential of a function of two or more variables, when only one of
the variables receives an increment. -- Total
differential (Math.), the differential of a
function of two or more variables, when each of the variables
receives an increment. The total differential of the function
is the sum of all the partial differentials.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
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The correct spelling of this word ought to be: Differential
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