difference

[dif-er-uhns, dif-ruhns]
noun
1.
the state or relation of being different; dissimilarity: There is a great difference between the two.
2.
an instance or point of unlikeness or dissimilarity: What accounts for the differences in their behavior?
3.
a significant change in or effect on a situation: His tact makes a difference in the way people accept his suggestions.
4.
a distinguishing characteristic; distinctive quality, feature, etc.: The difference in the two products is quality.
5.
the degree to which one person or thing differs from another.
6.
the act of distinguishing; discrimination; distinction.
7.
a disagreement in opinion.
8.
a dispute or quarrel.
9.
Also called finite distance. Mathematics.
a.
the amount by which one quantity is greater or less than another.
c.
(of a function f ) an expression of the form f (x + h ) − f (x ).
10.
a differentia.
verb (used with object), differenced, differencing.
11.
to cause or constitute a difference in or between; make different.
12.
to perceive the difference in or between; discriminate.
Idioms
13.
split the difference,
a.
to compromise, especially to make equal concessions.
b.
to divide the remainder equally: Let's take half of the cake and let the three of them split the difference.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin differentia, equivalent to different- carrying different ways (see different) + -ia -ia; see -ence


1. inconsistency, variation, diversity, imbalance, inequality, divergence, contrast, contrariety. Difference, discrepancy, disparity, dissimilarity imply perceivable unlikeness, variation, or diversity. Difference refers to a lack of identity or a degree of unlikeness: a difference of opinion; a difference of six inches. Discrepancy usually refers to an inconsistency between things that should agree, balance, or harmonize: a discrepancy between the statements of two witnesses. Disparity implies inequality, often where a greater equality might reasonably be expected: a great disparity between the ages of husband and wife. Dissimilarity indicates an essential lack of resemblance between things in some respect comparable: a dissimilarity between social customs in Asia and America. 6. See distinction.


1. similarity, agreement.
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World English Dictionary
difference (ˈdɪfərəns, ˈdɪfrəns)
 
n
1.  the state or quality of being unlike
2.  a specific instance of being unlike
3.  a distinguishing mark or feature
4.  a significant change in a situation: the difference in her is amazing
5.  a disagreement or argument: he had a difference with his wife
6.  a degree of distinctness, as between two people or things
7.  a.  the result of the subtraction of one number, quantity, etc, from another
 b.  the single number that when added to the subtrahend gives the minuend; remainder
8.  logic another name for differentia
9.  of two sets maths
 a.  A -- B the set of members of the first that are not members of the second
 b.  symmetric difference Often symbolized: A + B the set of members of one but not both of the given sets
10.  heraldry an addition to the arms of a family to represent a younger branch
11.  make a difference
 a.  to have an effect
 b.  to treat differently
12.  split the difference
 a.  to settle a dispute by a compromise
 b.  to divide a remainder equally
13.  with a difference with some peculiarly distinguishing quality, good or bad
 
vb
14.  rare to distinguish
15.  heraldry to add a charge to (arms) to differentiate a branch of a family

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

difference
mid-14c., from O.Fr. difference, from L. differentia, from differentem (nom. differens), prp. of differre "to set apart" (see differ). Sense of "a quarrel" first attested late 14c. Colloquial phrase what's the diff? first recorded 1896.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

difference dif·fer·ence (dĭf'ər-əns, dĭf'rəns)
n.
The magnitude or degree by which one quantity differs from another of the same kind.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
It's a reliable recipe, but subtle changes produce surprising differences.
The seasonal differences will astound you, and open your eyes to new
  possibilities in your own garden.
The skits should explain these differences in perception and the reasons for
  these differences.
Ask students what they think might be the similarities and differences between
  piracy today and in historical times.
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