The act of varying. The state or quality of being variant or variable; a variation. A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs. The state or fact of differing or of being in conflict. See Synonyms at discord. Law A discrepancy between two statements or documents in a proceeding. Law License to engage in an act contrary to a usual rule: a zoning variance. Statistics The square of the standard deviation. Chemistry The number of thermodynamic variables, such as temperature and pressure, required to specify a state of equilibrium of a system, given by the phase rule. at variance In a state of discrepancy; differing: The facts are at variance with your story.