Meaning of differentia in English:


Pronunciation /ˌdɪfəˈrɛnʃɪə/

See synonyms for differentia on

nounplural noun differentiae/ˌdɪfəˈrɛnʃɪiː/

  • 1A distinguishing mark or characteristic.

    ‘Then I turn over in my mind the list of topical differentiae and I see that the differentia ‘from equals’ will provide me with the argument I need.’
    • ‘The differentiae of specific emotions are not physiological, but cognitive or something else.’
    • ‘Indeed, a major differentia between philosophy and theology lies in each discipline's locus of authority and attitude toward its own past.’
    1. 1.1Philosophy An attribute that distinguishes a species of thing from other species of the same genus.
      ‘The text deals with a detailed explanation of the five logical-ontological key concepts: genus, species, differentia, essential attribute and accidental attribute.’
      • ‘As a result, if being were a genus, no differentiae could be said to have being; but ‘the differentiae of any genus must each of them both have being and be one’.’
      • ‘Its matter is its genus, which is only potentially the species defined; its differentia is the form that actualizes the matter.’
      • ‘In the same manner, matter has been regarded prior to form, and genus to differentia.’
      • ‘It has to be compared with the views of some other philosophers in order for its specifica differentia to come out clearly.’


Mid 16th century from Latin, literally ‘difference’, from different- ‘carrying away’ (see different). Compare with difference.