follow Dictionary.com

Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?

distinction

[dih-stingk-shuh n] /dɪˈstɪŋk ʃən/
noun
1.
a marking off or distinguishing as different:
His distinction of sounds is excellent.
2.
the recognizing or noting of differences; discrimination:
to make a distinction between right and wrong.
3.
a discrimination made between things as different; special regard or favoritism:
Death comes to all without distinction.
4.
condition of being different; difference:
There is a distinction between what he says and what he does.
5.
a distinguishing quality or characteristic:
It has the distinction of being the oldest house in the town.
6.
a distinguishing or treating with special honor, attention, or favor.
7.
an act of bestowing, or a mark of, honor or favor.
8.
marked superiority; note; eminence.
9.
distinguished appearance.
10.
Obsolete. division; separation.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English distinccioun (< Anglo-French) < Latin distinctiōn- (stem of distinctiō), equivalent to distinct(us) (see distinct) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
distinctionless, adjective
subdistinction, noun
underdistinction, noun
Synonyms
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.
Antonyms
4. resemblance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for distinctions
  • Other easily grasped regional distinctions have their origins at the level of language.
  • Within each zone are further distinctions that indicate a more specific type of climate.
  • Human subjects were unable to make the same distinctions among the recordings.
  • Though the two ancient elephant relatives looked similar, there were distinctions.
  • They're out to capture individual dragonflies to help capture the subtle distinctions among species.
  • And those distinctions can make all the difference to the environment.
  • And so, a whole vocabulary of distinctions arose to describe them.
  • It's a tourist site that routinely displays a quiet disregard of such distinctions.
  • Rather, the programme topically examined several different interpretations and did a fine job illuminating some distinctions.
  • Hopefully the range of communities we've exhibited has managed to elide some of those distinctions.
British Dictionary definitions for distinctions

distinction

/dɪˈstɪŋkʃən/
noun
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for distinctions

distinction

n.

c.1200, "one of the parts into which something is divided;" mid-14c. as "action of distinguishing," from Old French distinction and directly from Latin distinctionem (nominative distinctio) "separation, distinction, discrimination," noun of action from past participle stem of distinguere (see distinguish). Meaning "distinctive nature or character" is late 14c. Meaning "excellence or eminence" (what distinguishes from others) is first recorded 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for distinction

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for distinctions

15
18
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with distinctions