Define: Derivative

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Derivative



What is the dictionary definition of Derivative?

Dictionary Definition


  1. Something derived.
  2. linguistics A word that derives from another one.
  3. finance A financial instrument whose value depends on the valuation of an underlying asset; such as a warrant, an option etc.

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Full Definition of Derivative


A derivative, or derivative security, is an asset whose price is based on the value of an underlying asset. A derivative can come in several forms such as options, futures, and swaps. An option contract is a derivative that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying at a predetermined price. A futures contract is a derivative that commits a party either to buy or sell the underlying in the future at a certain price. A swap agreement is a derivate that commits the counterparties to exchange cash flows according to a pre-arranged formula. For example, an interest rate swap will specify cash flows to be paid as a function of some interest rate. The term derivative is generic and variations, as well as entirely different derivative types, are possible.


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Derivative. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/derivative/ (accessed: February 22, 2020).
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Derivative. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved February 22, 2020, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/derivative/

Definition Sources


Definitions for Derivative are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • BusinessDictionary.com
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.