The term derived table is used in SQL and T-SQL with more than one meaning. So first I want to make it clear which one I’m referring to in this article. I’m referring to a specific language construct that you define typically, but not only, in the FROM clause of an outer query. I’ll provide the syntax for this construct shortly.
The more general use of the term derived table in SQL is the counterpart to a derived relation from relational theory. A derived relation is a result relation that is derived from one or more input base relations, by applying relational operators from relational algebra like projection, intersection and others to those base relations. Similarly, in the general sense, a derived table in SQL is a result table that is derived from one or more base tables, by evaluating expressions against those input base tables.
There’s a lot to digest in this post, so check it out.