Meaning of derivative

de•riv•a•tive

Pronunciation: (di-riv'u-tiv), [key]
— adj.
  1. derived.
  2. not original; secondary.
—n.
  1. something derived.
  2. Also calleda form that has undergone derivation from another, as atomic from atom.
  3. a substance or compound obtained from, or regarded as derived from, another substance or compound.
  4. Also calledthe limit of the ratio of the increment of a function to the increment of a variable in it, as the latter tends to 0; the instantaneous change of one quantity with respect to another, as velocity, which is the instantaneous change of distance with respect to time. Cf. first derivative, second derivative.
  5. a financial contract whose value derives from the value of underlying stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, etc.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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