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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


variations on a theme (=things with a similar basic subject, style etc)
▪ Most of her short stories are variations on the theme of tragedy.
▪ There is considerable variation between sports around the overall averages reported above.
▪ Stimulants were most commonly prescribed, but there was considerable geographic variation.
▪ Roberts's evidence suggests that there has been considerable variation historically in how far support structures extend to more distant kin.
▪ However, there are considerable variations between the cities.
▪ Moreover, there was considerable variation in the grammar-school provision in different areas within each Local Education Authority.
▪ This generalisation, however, masks the fact that there are considerable variations from country to country in each of these regions.
▪ There was in 1986-7 considerable variation between Partnerships in the balance of expenditure.
▪ Yet this considerable variation in organizational model appears to arouse remarkably little interest in its consequences.
▪ The genetic basis of quantitative genetic variation is being investigated at the molecular genetic and population level.
▪ This suggests that human genetic variation is the result of only a few thousand minor differences between proteins.
▪ Heritability is defined as the proportion due to genes; it is the ratio of genetic variation to the total variation.
▪ Darwinian selection has to have genetic variation to work on.
▪ The amount of standing genetic variation for ageing within populations, and the number of genes involved, are not informative.
▪ Stereotypes, moreover, are subject to historical change and geographical variation and salience.
▪ The implications of concentration of provincial press ownership are greater when its geographical variation is taken into account.
▪ Brandt switched the emphasis from geographical variation to the study of the annual cycle of plankton growth found in the northern oceans.
▪ There are also strong geographical variations with a particularly heavy concentration in certain inner-city areas, for example Inner London and Newcastle.
▪ Many other animals show similar geographical variation in size.
▪ It is well documented that there are geographical variations in both health status and health care expenditure within Britain.
▪ Perhaps the greatest variation is in the form of the type of mount, or escutcheon, for the handle.
▪ Which statement would receive the greatest score variations between your society and another one that you identify?
▪ While maintaining accuracy, he bowls with a great deal of variation.
▪ The first was the great variation among sentences imposed by different judges upon similarly situated offenders.
▪ There was also a great variation in the size of local authorities of the same status.
▪ Furthermore, great variations in the size of tax receipts and disbursements exist among the states.
▪ Some work was obviously seasonal with stock work and crop work giving the greatest variation.
▪ There was, of course, a great deal of variation between one housewife and another.
▪ But the individual variations in the patterns of disease are less widely unpredictable than those of recovery.
▪ Piaget did not address the topic of individual differences or individual variations in construction of knowledge.
▪ But there are considerable individual variations.
▪ In swarm systems with heritability, individual variation and imperfection will lead to perpetual novelty, or what we call evolution.
▪ The original intention behind the research was to measure the effect on the individual worker of variations in the work conditions.
▪ This suggests that individual variations in physiology and metabolism must be an important factor.
▪ The difference in baselines between these two groups results from the large degree of individual variation in salivary secretion.
▪ There is considerable individual variation with regard to insulin requirement.
▪ The report highlights large variations in early retirement dates throughout the public sector.
▪ The localised struggles there are to a large extent a variation on a wider pattern of exploitation and greed.
▪ Do not place the computer where it will be subject to large variations in temperature or near a radiator.
▪ Furthermore, large interspecies variations exist not only in the metabolism of morphine but also in the distribution of opioid receptors.
▪ The authors draw attention to what seems to be a large regional variation between rates of surgical treatment for glue ear.
▪ These are established through national joint councils, consisting of representatives of employers and employees, supplemented by local variations and agreements.
▪ The report also revealed interesting local variations.
▪ The resultant local variation in working arrangements has greatly complicated national assessment.
▪ Light curves may show varying brightness due to two in-dependent factors: local variations in reflectivity and departures from spherical shape.
▪ Application of the local magnetic variation to the recorded heading will give the true heading.
▪ Buxton and Klein's study found that in the early 1970s local variations within a region were greater than between regions.
▪ But within this apparently uniform pattern of land use were a number of local variations, including those pertaining to land transfer.
▪ Without regional and local variations, a further gap will be created.
▪ There is not only a single currency but also a single economic policy, with only minor variations between states.
▪ The scene repeated with minor variations and the game continued to our amusement for the hour that we were having coffee.
▪ Leaf-gilding usually shows only minor variations in thickness and a superficial bonding to the metal below.
▪ There are many minor variations, from species to species, but these two types of distraction display are the basic forms.
▪ This hairstyle proved pervasive, lasting with minor variations into late antiquity.
▪ The experiments described above were performed more than once, with minor variations in the procedure adopted.
▪ More notable, however, is yet another minor variation of the squat urn.
▪ On these three topics the various works are all agreed apart from minor variations.
▪ There are many possible variations within each category.
▪ Not for patients in general, but for Neil-his version of all the possible variations on the basic plan.
▪ Any possible variation of dose delivered from position to position was eliminated by rotating the entire assembly at six revolutions per minute.
▪ The number of possible variations is infinite.
▪ There are many possible variations on the theme of symmetry.
▪ There are two possible variations in sequencing.
▪ Here we discuss possible variations in the format of instructions, and the matching of instruction length to computer word size.
▪ Because regional variations tend to be more pronounced among working-class speakers, it is also a class variation.
▪ But both groups include many profoundly different peoples, owing partly to the accidents of history and partly to regional variations.
▪ It also highlights significant regional variations, possibly reflecting a marked difference in schools' approach to discipline.
▪ There are many regional variations of this delightful fish, and colouring will vary according to where the stock has been collected.
▪ There were also some significant regional variations.
▪ Equally, regional variations in speech may generate different spellings.
▪ But great regional variations were apparent.
▪ The Bill perpetuates all the anomalies, unfairness, regional variations and bureaucracy that made the poll tax unpopular.
▪ The measured seasonal variations of peroxide and ozone in clean air at Cape Grim during the experiment are contrasted in Fig. 4.
▪ The figures are adjusted for seasonal variations.
▪ One major factor in causing seasonal variations in food supplies was the difficulty of storage.
▪ Do you see seasonal variations in sales?
▪ Table 2 shows the differences among the schools and in addition the seasonal variation.
▪ All figures are preliminary and are adjusted for seasonal variation.
▪ In other words, they have become instinctively aware of changes in daily and seasonal variations in temperature.
▪ Modern studies of Mars confirm the seasonal variations of the surface brightness, but without biological intervention.
▪ It also highlights significant regional variations, possibly reflecting a marked difference in schools' approach to discipline.
▪ There was the more significant variation of allowing folders to reside within folders, ad infinitum.
▪ Although there are some significant variations between these writers, they do identify a number of implications for staff management.
▪ It acts by inhibiting bone resorption of calcium thereby preventing significant variations in plasma calcium concentrations.
▪ However, when examined in more detail it is possible to identify significant variations along the margin.
▪ But all three novels also exhibit significant variations on parody as it has been practised in the past.
▪ There is a significant variation in success rates depending on representation.
▪ There were also some significant regional variations.
▪ These variations may be a result of slight variations in the amount of template cDNA.
▪ The procedure is usually carried out at room temperature. Slight variations in temperature are not critical. 26.
▪ It is employed by a wide range of species, with slight variations.
▪ There was never the slightest variation.
▪ They show slight variations, for example in the woodcut decorations.
▪ A slight variation in this household was that one social worker stayed behind.
▪ Special Scheme Home policies may have slight variations in cover and should be handled accordingly.
▪ There are however slight variations, the first being where the independent belongs to a retail buying association.
▪ With small variations, this is typical of the kind of armour worn by El Cid and his warriors.
▪ There were often small variations in the assembly and fabrication of otherwise similar pieces.
▪ Modelling will tend to mask small but important variations which may be adequately understood only by local research.
▪ Each has their own small variations, to be sure.
▪ Sideways movement would produce much smaller variations, enough to give an image of vitality and movement.
▪ These small variations would explain why galaxies formed into clusters, and stars into galaxies.
▪ The reason is that, with a digital system, small variations do not corrupt the message.
▪ Collectively, over five or six generations these small variations led to considerable population growth.
▪ For most experimental purposes spatial variations occur in only one dimension so that the stimuli appear as light and dark stripes.
▪ Group 2 errors include positional accuracy, attribute uncertainty, and generalization arising from data classification and spatial variations in map quality.
▪ Dynamic fluxes depend on motions which in turn depend on spatial variations in heating.
▪ The second column also shows that there is a wide variation between regions in the proportion of exports to foreign debt.
▪ Not surprisingly, the studies of caffeine tolerance and withdrawal have found wide variations in subject responses.
▪ The first is the wide variation in specification and finish that are standard practice in the motor industry.
▪ But there is wide variation among Internet providers in cost, features, software, reliability and customer service.
▪ It can be seen that there is a wide variation, especially where the number of dies in a year is small.
▪ There was wide variation in the students' responses.
▪ A wide variation among subjects was also seen in the total amount of food refluxed into the oesophagus.
▪ The standards could accommodate a reasonably wide variation.
▪ One involved using whole word shape to help determine segment positions and to allow for letter shape variations within words.
▪ Monitoring progress against the timetable allows variations to be identified and replanning undertaken.
▪ For example, you should allow for creating variation in your working patterns.
▪ The mechanism allows for great variation and complexity in magma chamber sedimentation.
▪ If we now allow for variation in the savings proportions, then we can apply the earlier results.
▪ This alternation of form between generations has allowed all kinds of variations within the group.
▪ In February, councillors refused to allow a variation of the hours.
▪ We explain this variation to emphasise the purpose of the stand-offs.
▪ This is exactly parallel to what happens in explaining the variations in species.
▪ But the question really is to explain variations in water level along the coast.
▪ How do we explain this variation, and how do we explain the transmission of this adaptation from one generation to another?
▪ Age is probably the most important variable in explaining variation in those sports that require physical contact and strength.
▪ Using measures which explain variations in utilisation in normative formulas is to confuse what is with what ought to be.
▪ Let us look first at the easier one - explaining variations in fertility.
▪ However it was then pointed out by a biologist that tiny movements by the plant could explain these variations.
▪ How these colours are used differs from regiment to regiment, and the examples shown represent just one variation for each state.
▪ Rather, this use of dialect simply indicates that speakers show some variation in the way they use elements of the language.
▪ The goat's movements and social interactions show a similar seasonal variation.
▪ While we showed several variations, our work was interpreted to mean that instant bonding was universal.
▪ Serial biopsy specimens in these patients often showed variations in the intensity of inflammation and hepatocyte necrosis.
▪ No human language is fixed, uniform, or unvarying: all languages show internal variation.
▪ They show slight variations, for example in the woodcut decorations.
▪ And one has to remember that sperm counts also show a natural seasonal variation.
a wide variation/difference/gap etc
▪ But there is, indeed, still a wide gap in the use of flexibility.
▪ But when the national polls are a wide gap, the country is pretty likely to follow.
▪ Just as there may be a wide variation in the inputs, so may the outputs vary.
▪ Solids exhibit a wide variation in rigidity.
▪ The second column also shows that there is a wide variation between regions in the proportion of exports to foreign debt.
▪ There is a wide difference between promise and performance.
▪ Waiting time by specialty is meaningless as it conceals a wide variation among consultants' clinics.
▪ Within the general waste type shown in these figures exists a wide variation.
▪ The new movie is a variation on the theme of the original 'Blue Lagoon'.
▪ There are least ten styles of Apple Mac computers, and countless variations in those models.
▪ There is a great deal of variation among the responses.
▪ This recipe makes an interesting variation on the traditional Christmas cake.
▪ All this data combined will allow scientists to determine Eros's density, and any density variations deep inside the asteroid.
▪ Because regional variations tend to be more pronounced among working-class speakers, it is also a class variation.
▪ But the individual variations in the patterns of disease are less widely unpredictable than those of recovery.
▪ Looking at the might-have-beens of stylistic variation is a way of making the elusive quality of good writing open to inspection.
▪ Most of the instrumentals are simply variations of past themes, but who cares?
▪ There continued to be striking regional and social class variations in infant mortality and in life expectancy at later ages.
▪ There were other variations too: some ships had low prows and high sterns, whilst others were high at both ends.

Variation (game)

In game design, variation is the process whereby the community of players, rather than any officiating authority, adapts the rules for informal play. If a variant becomes popular, it will often be published in a rules document like Hoyle's Rules of Games. It may supplant the original game. For example, Hearts is usually played with a variation whereby the Jack of Diamonds carries a -10 (desired, since points are penalty) point value, in a variant known as " Omnibus hearts".

Category:Game terminology


Variation may refer to:

Variation (ballet)

In ballet, a variation (sometimes referred to as a pas seul, meaning to dance alone) is a solo dance. In a classical grand pas de deux, the ballerina and danseur each perform a variation.

Variation (astronomy)

In astronomy, the variation of the Moon is one of the principal perturbations in the motion of the Moon.

The variation was discovered by Tycho Brahe, who noticed that, starting from a lunar eclipse in December 1590, at the times of syzygy (new or full moon), the apparent velocity of motion of the Moon (along its orbit as seen against the background of stars) was faster than expected. On the other hand, at the times of first and last quarter, its velocity was correspondingly slower than expected. (Those expectations were based on the lunar tables widely used up to Tycho's time. They took some account of the two largest irregularities in the Moon's motion, i.e. those now known as the equation of the center and the evection, see also Lunar theory - History.)

The main visible effect (in longitude) of the variation of the Moon is that during the course of every month, at the octants of the Moon's phase that follow the syzygies (i.e. halfway between the new or the full moon and the next-following quarter), the Moon is about two thirds of a degree farther ahead than would be expected on the basis of its mean motion (as modified by the equation of the centre and by the evection). But at the octants that precede the syzygies, it is about two thirds of a degree behind. At the syzygies and quarters themselves, the main effect is on the Moon's velocity rather than its position.

frame|right|Variational orbit: nearly an ellipse, with the Earth at the center. The diagram illustrates the perturbing effect of the Sun on the Moon's orbit, using some simplifying approximations, e.g. that in the absence of the Sun, the Moon's orbit would be circular with the Earth at its center In 1687 Newton published, in the ' Principia', his first steps in the gravitational analysis of the motion of three mutually-attracting bodies. This included a proof that the Variation is one of the results of the perturbation of the motion of the Moon caused by the action of the Sun, and that one of the effects is to distort the Moon's orbit in a practically elliptical manner (ignoring at this point the eccentricity of the Moon's orbit), with the centre of the ellipse occupied by the Earth, and the major axis perpendicular to a line drawn between the Earth and Sun.

The Variation has a period of half a synodic month and causes the Moon's ecliptic longitude to vary by nearly two-thirds of a degree, more exactly by +2370"sin(2D) where D is the mean elongation of the Moon from the Sun.

The variational distortion of the Moon's orbit is a different effect from the eccentric elliptical motion of a body in an unperturbed orbit. The Variation effect would still occur if the undisturbed motion of the Moon had an eccentricity of zero (i.e. circular). The eccentric Keplerian ellipse is another and separate approximation for the Moon's orbit, different from the approximation represented by the (central) variational ellipse. The Moon's line of apses, i.e. the long axis of the Moon's orbit when approximated as an eccentric ellipse, rotates once in about nine years, so that it can be oriented at any angle whatever relative to the direction of the Sun at any season. (The angular difference between these two directions used to be referred to, in much older literature, as the "annual argument of the Moon's apogee".) Twice in every period of just over a year, the direction of the Sun coincides with the direction of the long axis of the eccentric elliptical approximation of the Moon's orbit (as projected on to the ecliptic).

Thus the (central) elliptical distortion of the Moon's orbit caused by the variation should not be confused with an undisturbed eccentric elliptical motion of an orbiting body. The variational effects due to the Sun would still occur even if the hypothetical undisturbed motion of the Moon had an eccentricity of zero (i.e. even if in the absence of the Sun it would be circular).

Newton expressed an approximate recognition that the real orbit of the Moon is not exactly an eccentric Keplerian ellipse, nor exactly a central ellipse due to the variation, but "an oval of another kind". Newton did not give an explicit expression for the form of this "oval of another kind"; to an approximation, it combines the two effects of the central-elliptical variational orbit and the Keplerian eccentric ellipse. Their combination also continually changes its shape as the annual argument changes, and also as the evection shows itself in libratory changes in the eccentricity, and in the direction, of the long axis of the eccentric ellipse.

The Variation is the second-largest solar perturbation of the Moon's orbit after the Evection, and the third-largest inequality in the motion of the Moon altogether; (the first and largest of the lunar inequalities is the equation of the centre, a result of the eccentricity – which is not an effect of solar perturbation).

Variation (linguistics)

Variation is a characteristic of language: there is more than one way of saying the same thing. Speakers may vary pronunciation ( accent), word choice ( lexicon), or morphology and syntax (sometimes called " grammar"). But while the diversity of variation is great, there seem to be boundaries on variation – speakers do not generally make drastic alterations in sentence word order or use novel sounds that are completely foreign to the language being spoken. Language variation does not equate with language ungrammaticality, but speakers are still (often unconsciously) sensitive to what is and is not possible in their native tongue. Language variation is a core concept in sociolinguistics. Sociolinguists investigate whether this linguistic variation can be attributed to differences in the social characteristics of the speakers using the language, but also investigate whether elements of the surrounding linguistic context promote or inhibit the usage of certain structures.

Studies of language variation and its correlation with sociological categories, such as William Labov's 1963 paper "The social motivation of a sound change," led to the foundation of sociolinguistics as a subfield of linguistics. Although contemporary sociolinguistics includes other topics, language variation and change remains an important issue at the heart of the field.

Variation (game tree)

A Variation can refer to a specific sequence of successive moves in a turn-based game, often used to specify a hypothetical future state of a game that is being played. Although the term is most commonly used in the context of Chess analysis, it has been applied to other games. It also is a useful term used when describing computer tree-search algorithms (for example minimax) for playing games such as Go or Chess.

A variation can be any number of steps as long as each step would be legal if it were to be played. It is often as far ahead as a human or computer can calculate; or however long is necessary to reach a particular position of interest. It may also lead to a terminal state in the game, in which case the term "Winning Variation" or "Losing Variation" is sometimes used.

Variation (horse)

' Variation' (1827–1847) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and broodmare who won the classic Oaks Stakes at Epsom Downs Racecourse in 1830. The Oaks was Variation's racing debut and she went on to win a total of eight races from fifteen starts. Her other successes included three match races, the Oatlands Stakes, and two editions of the Garden Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse. Her best performance was probably her win in the 1831 Garden Stakes in which she defeated a very strong field over a distance of two miles. She was retired from racing in 1833 and had some success as a broodmare.

The Collaborative International Dictionary


Variation \Va`ri*a"tion\, n. [OE. variatioun, F. variation, L. variatio. See Vary.]

  1. The act of varying; a partial change in the form, position, state, or qualities of a thing; modification; alternation; mutation; diversity; deviation; as, a variation of color in different lights; a variation in size; variation of language.

    The essences of things are conceived not capable of any such variation.

  2. Extent to which a thing varies; amount of departure from a position or state; amount or rate of change.

  3. (Gram.) Change of termination of words, as in declension, conjugation, derivation, etc.

  4. (Mus.) Repetition of a theme or melody with fanciful embellishments or modifications, in time, tune, or harmony, or sometimes change of key; the presentation of a musical thought in new and varied aspects, yet so that the essential features of the original shall still preserve their identity.

  5. (Alg.) One of the different arrangements which can be made of any number of quantities taking a certain number of them together.

    Annual variation (Astron.), the yearly change in the right ascension or declination of a star, produced by the combined effects of the precession of the equinoxes and the proper motion of the star.

    Calculus of variations. See under Calculus.

    Variation compass. See under Compass.

    Variation of the moon (Astron.), an inequality of the moon's motion, depending on the angular distance of the moon from the sun. It is greater at the octants, and zero at the quadratures.

    Variation of the needle (Geog. & Naut.), the angle included between the true and magnetic meridians of a place; the deviation of the direction of a magnetic needle from the true north and south line; -- called also declination of the needle.

    Syn: Change; vicissitude; variety; deviation.



  1. n. an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change [syn: fluctuation]

  2. an activity that varies from a norm or standard; "any variation in his routine was immediately reported" [syn: variance]

  3. a repetition of a musical theme in which it is modified or embellished

  4. something a little different from others of the same type; "an experimental version of the night fighter"; "an emery wheel is a modern variant of the grindstone"; "the boy is a younger edition of his father" [syn: version, variant, edition]

  5. an artifact that deviates from a norm or standard; "he patented a variation on the sandal"

  6. the angle (at a particular location) between magnetic north and true north [syn: magnetic declination, magnetic variation]

  7. (astronomy) any perturbation of the mean motion or orbit of a planet or satellite (especially a perturbation of the earth's moon)

  8. (biology) an organism that has characteristics resulting from chromosomal alteration [syn: mutant, mutation, sport]

  9. (ballet) a solo dance or dance figure [syn: pas seul]

  10. the act of changing or altering something slightly but noticeably from the norm or standard; "who is responsible for these variations in taxation?"

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary


late 14c., "difference, divergence," from Old French variacion "variety, diversity" and directly from Latin variationem (nominative variatio) "a difference, variation, change," from past participle stem of variare "to change" (see vary). The musical sense is attested from 1801. Related: Variational.



n. The act of varying; a partial change in the form, position, state, or qualities of a thing

Usage examples of "variation".

That fecundation sometimes takes place from right to left and thus produces these abnormal variations.

Hotel, and has been attended by the most happy results, yet the cases have presented so great a diversity of abnormal features, and have required so many variations in the course of treatment, to be met successfully, that we frankly acknowledge our inability to so instruct the unprofessional reader as to enable him to detect the various systemic faults common to this ever-varying disease, and adjust remedies to them, so as to make the treatment uniformly successful.

It seems likely that she, too, was mercilessly abused just as her predecessors had been abused, with the addition of new and even more horrifying variations.

These patterns are abstracted for the most part from leaves and flowers - the rose, the lotus, the acanthus, palm, papyrus - and are elaborated, with recurrences and variations, into something transportingly reminiscent of the living geometries of the Other World.

It appears, then, that progressive degeneration of an organ can be adequately explained by variation with the removal of natural selection, and that it is not necessary or desirable to appeal to any Lamarckian factor of an unexplainable and undemonstrable nature.

There is no independent data indicating any variation whatever in the methods of the admixture of black or colored inks, which differentiates them from those used in the earliest times of the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews or Chinese.

He went to the bathroom to wash his hands, but this time he did not ask the mirror, metaphysically, What can this be, he had recovered his scientific outlook, the fact that agnosia and amaurosis are identified and defined with great precision in books and in practice, did not preclude the appearance of variations, mutations, if the word is appropriate, and that day seemed to have arrived.

It was so similar to agrimony that she thought of it as a variation of that herb -- but one of the other medicine women at the Clan Gathering had called it boneset, and used it for that purpose.

Moreover, it is but little affected by variations in alkalinity, which render the other finishing point quite useless.

The chanting was picked up by others, and soon most of the people were deeply involved in a mesmerizing sequence that consisted of repetitive phrases sung in a pulsating beat with little change in tone, alternating with arrhythmic drumming that had more tonal variation than the voices.

The assayer, however, uses the sample which he has dried for his moisture-determination, as the dry ore on which he makes his other assays, and no variation in moisture would influence the other and more important determinations.

As slight variation on a theme, linguistic as well as affective, this is his authorial signature.

From the undoubted fact that gene mutations like the Tay-Sachs mutation or chromosomal abnormalities like the extra chromosome causing Down syndrome are the sources of pathological variation, human geneticists have assumed that heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and bipolar syndrome must also be genetic variants.

We saw the two institutions as variations on each other,-doubtless the Birchers did not see it this way.

Priel Farm came in for a good deal of hatred by the Boche, and the variations in its contour was a daily source of interest to the troops in the vicinity.