Basically, what is the opposite verb of "derive", i.e. "to take the primitive function of"?

(Context: I'm trying to make wolframAlpha take the primitive of a function, but I can't get formulation correct.)

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    'Derive' means 'work out the derived function corresponding to a primitive'. Work out f'(x) given f(x). If you want the reverse process, it's known as integration. But you can't 'take the primitive of a function'; the one you start with is the primitive. May 2, 2015 at 13:38
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    Is "integrate" the word I'm looking for then? Because I indeed need a word for the reversed process, that is, work out f(x) given f'(x).
    – Ludwik
    May 2, 2015 at 13:51
  • Yep, looks like "integrate" is the one, Wolfram understood it. Make an answer and I'll accept it.
    – Ludwik
    May 2, 2015 at 13:52
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    It's not a poor question, and the other was not easy to find from where you started. I'd leave it. It does the site no harm. It's the questions like "How duu yuu spel 'plesent'?" or "Is it 'I am here' or 'I are here'?" that lose the site credibility. May 2, 2015 at 14:12
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    Fundamental theorem of calculus May 2, 2015 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


In calculus, I usually think of "integrate" as the verb for the opposite of the finding the derivative.

Wikipedia says "The process of solving for antiderivatives is called antidifferentiation (or indefinite integration) and its opposite operation is called differentiation, which is the process of finding a derivative" (emphasis added).

I usually think of the verb derive in mathematics in the context of formal proofs and abstract algebra.

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    Am I correct in understanding your answer to be completing the poster's fill-in-the-blank comparison with "derivative is to derive as primitive function is to integrate"? If not, what word does go in the spot where I've inserted integrate?
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 3, 2015 at 4:24
  • @SvenYargs Yes, but with the qualification that I'm not convinced the verb "derive" (which is better paired with the result-noun "derivation") is the best word for its position in the analogy.
    – WBT
    Jul 28, 2016 at 13:16

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