The relation of a word to its base. e.g. happiness and unhappy from happy (in contrast to the process of inflection). Ascertaining or stating the derivation of a word. The source, origin, descent or origination. Similar to Etymology.

Derivation can be used in a similar context to etymology. It differs in that derivation is how words are formed from a base word; excluding the inflexion of words ie conjugation of verbs or declension of nouns and adjectives. So the actual meaning of the word is altered eg futuristic from future; gleeful from glee.

Definition of DERIVATION

1 a (1) : the formation of a word from another word or base (as by the addition of a usually noninflectional affix)
(2) : an act of ascertaining or stating the derivation of a word
(3) : etymology
b : the relation of a word to its base
2 a : source, origin
b : descent, origination
3 : something derived : derivative
4 : an act or process of deriving

In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happiness and unhappy from happy, or determination from determine. It often involves the addition of a morpheme in the form of an affix, such as -ness, un- and -ation in the preceding examples.

Derivational morphology often involves the addition of a derivational suffix or other affix. Such an affix usually applies to words of one lexical category (part of speech) and changes them into words of another such category. For example, the English derivational suffix -ly changes adjectives into adverbs (slow → slowly).

Examples of English derivational patterns and their suffixes:

adjective-to-noun: -ness (slow → slowness) adjective-to-verb: -ise (modern → modernise) in British English or -ize (archaic → archaicize) in American English and Oxford spelling adjective-to-adjective: -ish (red → reddish) adjective-to-adverb: -ly (personal → personally) noun-to-adjective: -al (recreation → recreational) noun-to-verb: -fy (glory → glorify) verb-to-adjective: -able (drink → drinkable) verb-to-noun (abstract): -ance (deliver → deliverance) verb-to-noun (agent): -er (write → writer)

der·i·va·tion [der-uh-vey-shuhn] noun
1. the act or fact of deriving or of being derived.
2. the process of deriving.
3. the source from which something is derived; origin.
4. something that is or has been derived; derivative.

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