In chemistry, a derivative is a compound that is derived from a similar compound by some chemical or physical process. In the past it was also used to mean a compound that can be imagined to arise from another compound, if one atom is replaced with another atom or group of atoms, but modern chemical language now uses the term structural analogue for this meaning - thus eliminating ambiguity of both terms. The term "structural analogue" is common in organic chemistry. In biochemistry, the word is used for compounds that at least theoretically can be formed from the precursor compound.
Chemical derivatives may be used to facilitate analysis. For example, melting point (MP) analysis can assist in identification of many organic compounds. A crystalline derivative may be prepared, such as a semicarbazone or 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazone (derived from aldehydes/ketones), as a simple way of verifying the identity of the original compound, assuming that a table of derivative MP values is available. Prior to the advent of spectroscopic analysis, such methods were widely used.
- "Definition of Derivative". Chemicool. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850673-2.
- Williamson, Kenneth L. (1999). Macroscale and Microscale Organic Experiments, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. pp. 426–7. ISBN 0-395-90220-7.