"What cause brought
him so soon at variance with himself?" Milton.
(Va"ri*ant) a. [L. varians, p. pr. of variare to change: cf. F. variant. See Vary.]
1. Varying in from, character, or the like; variable; different; diverse.
2. Changeable; changing; fickle. [Obs.]
He is variant, he abit [abides] nowhere.Chaucer.
(Va"ri*ant) n. [Cf. F. variante.] Something which differs in form from another thing, though
really the same; as, a variant from a type in natural history; a variant of a story or a word.
(Va"ri*ate) v. t. & i. [L. variatus, p. p. of variare. See Vary.] To alter; to make different; to
(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.Locke.
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