a marking off or distinguishing as different: His distinction of sounds is excellent.
the recognizing or noting of differences; discrimination: to make a distinction between right and wrong.
a discrimination made between things as different; special regard or favoritism: Death comes to all without distinction.
condition of being different; difference: There is a distinction between what he says and what he does.
a distinguishing quality or characteristic: It has the distinction of being the oldest house in the town.
a distinguishing or treating with special honor, attention, or favor.
an act of bestowing, or a mark of, honor or favor.
marked superiority; note; eminence.
distinguished appearance.
Obsolete. division; separation.

1175–1225; Middle English distinccioun (< Anglo-French) < Latin distinctiōn- (stem of distinctiō), equivalent to distinct(us) (see distinct) + -iōn- -ion

distinctionless, adjective
subdistinction, noun
underdistinction, noun

3. Distinction and difference may both refer to perceivable dissimilarities and, in this meaning, may be used interchangeably: There is a distinction (difference ) between the two. Distinction however, usually suggests the perception of dissimilarity, as the result of analysis and discrimination: a carefully made distinction between two treatments of the same theme; whereas difference refers only to the condition of being dissimilar: the difference between Gothic and Roman architecture. “A distinction without a difference” is a way of referring to an artificial or false discrimination. 7. See honor. 8. renown, importance.

4. resemblance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
distinction (dɪˈstɪŋkʃən)
1.  the act or an instance of distinguishing or differentiating
2.  a distinguishing feature
3.  the state of being different or distinguishable
4.  special honour, recognition, or fame
5.  excellence of character; distinctive qualities: a man of distinction
6.  distinguished appearance
7.  a symbol of honour or rank

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "action of distinguishing," from L. distinctionem, from stem of distinguere (see distinguish). Meaning "excellence or eminence" (what distinguishes from others) is first recorded 1690s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Dee passed his dissertation defense with distinction today.
It blurs the distinction between fish and land-living animals.
This puzzle is a list of encrypted words that all share a special distinction.
It will be really hard to make a distinction between the two.
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