A measure of dispersion of a set of data points around their mean value. The mathematical expectation of the squared deviations from the mean. The square root of the variance is the standard deviation. The New York Times Financial Glossary

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variance var‧i‧ance [ˈveəriəns ǁ ˈver-] noun
1. [uncountable] the amount by which two or more things are different:

• There's a wide variance in the two sets of data.

2. [countable, uncountable] ACCOUNTING the difference between what something actually costs and its usual or standard cost, or its cost when calculated earlier:

• A significant variance is one amounting to more than 10% of the allocated budget.

3. [countable] LAW an arrangement in which a court of law allows a company to do something that would not normally be allowed; = Exemption Bre:

• The authority granted a variance so the company could install the satellite dish.

4. [countable] an arrangement in which a local government authority allows someone to do something to their property that would not normally be allowed

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variance UK US /ˈveəriəns/ noun
[C or U] a difference between two or more or things: »

We found a wide variance in the size, shape, and design of digital projectors.


The government fears that too much variance in the treatment of Scottish and English students could cause political strain.

[C] ACCOUNTING the difference between the costs, sales, etc. expected during a particular period, and the final costs, etc: »

Weekly sales variances are more volatile and ultimately less meaningful.

[C] US LAW, PROPERTY a change in a law, especially one involving the use of property, that is allowed by a local government in particular situations: apply for/request/seek a variance »

The power company has applied for a variance to the county rule on burying lines.

grant/deny a variance »

They filed a lawsuit against trustees after they were denied a variance to build a home on 17.82 acres.


He says he requested a zoning variance but that the county refused to process it.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • variance — [ varjɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1904; de variant, p. prés. de varier, d apr. invariant, covariant 1 ♦ Sc. Nombre de conditions définissant un système physique ou chimique et que l on peut faire varier arbitrairement sans détruire l état d équilibre du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • variance — var·i·ance / ver ē əns/ n 1: a disagreement between two documents or positions; esp: a disagreement between allegations (as in an indictment or complaint) and proof offered at trial that warrants an appropriate remedy (as a directed verdict or an …   Law dictionary

  • Variance — Va ri*ance, n. [L. variantia.] [1913 Webster] 1. The quality or state of being variant; change of condition; variation. [1913 Webster] 2. Difference that produce dispute or controversy; disagreement; dissension; discord; dispute; quarrel. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • variance — The phrase at variance should be followed by with, not from: • The pace at which strategy was being implemented was at variance with the quick decision making this business requires Guardian, 2006 …   Modern English usage

  • variance — mid 14c., fact of undergoing change, from O.Fr. variance, from L. variantia, from variare to change (see VARY (Cf. vary)). Meaning state of disagreement is recorded from early 15c. The U.S. zoning sense of official dispensation from a building… …   Etymology dictionary

  • variance — ► NOUN 1) (usu. in phrase at variance with) the fact or quality of being different or inconsistent. 2) the state of disagreeing or quarrelling. 3) chiefly Law a discrepancy between two statements or documents …   English terms dictionary

  • variance — [ver′ē əns, var′ē əns] n. [OFr < L variantia < L varians, prp. of variare, to VARY] 1. the quality, state, or fact of varying or being variant; a changing or tendency to change 2. degree of change or difference; divergence; discrepancy 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • variance — *discord, contention, dissension, difference, strife, conflict Analogous words: difference, diversity, divergency, disparateness (see corresponding adjectives at DIFFERENT): separation, division, severing, sundering (see corresponding verbs at… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • variance — [n] difference about face*, argument, change, conflict, contention, deviation, difference of opinion, different strokes*, disaccord, disagreement, discord, discrepancy, dissension, dissent, dissidence, disunity, divergence, diversity, division,… …   New thesaurus

  • Variance — In probability theory and statistics, the variance of a random variable, probability distribution, or sample is one measure of statistical dispersion, averaging the squared distance of its possible values from the expected value (mean). Whereas… …   Wikipedia

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