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something a little different from others of the same type; "an experimental version of the night fighter"; "a variant of the same word"; "an emery wheel is the modern variation of a grindstone"; "the boy is a younger edition of his father"
a variable quantity that is random
an event that departs from expectations
(biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups; "a new strain of microorganisms"