"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[dih-sting-gwisht] /dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃt/
made conspicuous by excellence; noted; eminent; famous:
a distinguished scholar.
Synonyms: renowned, illustrious.
having an air of distinction, dignity, or eminence:
a distinguished old gentleman.
conspicuous; marked.
Origin of distinguished
1600-10; distinguish + -ed2
Related forms
distinguishedly, adverb
nondistinguished, adjective
well-distinguished, adjective
Can be confused
distinctive, distinguishable, distinguished.
Synonym Study
1. See famous.


[dih-sting-gwish] /dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to mark off as different (often followed by from or by):
He was distinguished from the other boys by his height.
to recognize as distinct or different; recognize the salient or individual features or characteristics of:
It is hard to distinguish her from her twin sister.
to perceive clearly by sight or other sense; discern; recognize:
He could not distinguish many of the words.
to set apart as different; be a distinctive characteristic of; characterize:
It is his Italian accent that distinguishes him.
to make prominent, conspicuous, or eminent:
to distinguish oneself in battle.
to divide into classes; classify:
Let us distinguish the various types of metaphor.
Archaic. to single out for or honor with special attention.
verb (used without object)
to indicate or show a difference (usually followed by between).
to recognize or note differences; discriminate.
1555-65; extension, by -ish2, of Middle English disting(u)en (< Anglo-French, Middle French distinguer) < Latin distinguere; see distinct
Related forms
distinguishable, adjective
distinguishableness, distinguishability, noun
distinguishably, adverb
distinguisher, noun
distinguishment, noun
interdistinguish, verb (used with object)
nondistinguishable, adjective
nondistinguishableness, noun
nondistinguishably, adverb
predistinguish, verb (used with object)
redistinguish, verb
undistinguishable, adjective
Can be confused
distinctive, distinguishable, distinguished.
2. Distinguish, differentiate, discriminate suggest an attempt to analyze characteristic features or qualities of things. To distinguish is to recognize the characteristic features belonging to a thing: to distinguish a light cruiser from a heavy cruiser. To discriminate is to perceive the particular, nice, or exact differences between things, to determine wherein these differences consist, and to estimate their significance: to discriminate prejudiced from unprejudiced testimony. To differentiate is to point out exactly and in detail the differences between (usually) two things: The symptoms of both diseases are so similar that it is hard to differentiate one from another.
2. confuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distinguished
  • Antarctic terns can be distinguished by their bright red bills, feet, and legs.
  • The writing throughout these tales is controlled and powerful, and distinguished by a rare poetic ability.
  • Efforts in this direction by distinguished outsiders have not been convincing.
  • They were also distinguished by the people who worked on them.
  • Apostrophes that once distinguished between “its” and “it's” seem quaint and arbitrary.
  • Cultures are kept distinct by cuisines, and cuisines are distinguished by taste.
  • Standing out and being distinguished for whatever you are and whatever you want to accomplish should be the ultimate goal.
  • The products from the Atlanta company are distinguished by their stylish packaging.
  • Although marred by flat writing, the book is distinguished by its psychological understanding of the subject.
  • He is distinguished in the way of an emeritus professor and dressed formally, with a scarf wrapped around his neck.
British Dictionary definitions for distinguished


noble or dignified in appearance or behaviour
eminent; famous; celebrated


verb (mainly transitive)
when intr, foll by between or among. to make, show, or recognize a difference or differences (between or among); differentiate (between)
to be a distinctive feature of; characterize
to make out; perceive
to mark for a special honour or title
to make (oneself) noteworthy: he distinguished himself by his cowardice
to classify; categorize: we distinguished three species
Derived Forms
distinguishable, adjective
distinguishably, adverb
distinguisher, noun
distinguishing, adjective
distinguishingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin distinguere to separate, discriminate
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
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Word Origin and History for distinguished

c.1600, "separate," past participle adjective from distinguish. Sense of "famous, celebrated," recorded from 1714; meaning "having an air of distinction" is from 1748.



1560s, from Middle French distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, or directly from Latin distinguere "to separate between, separate by pricking," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -stinguere "to prick" (see extinguish, and cf. Latin instinguere "to incite, impel").

The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of Old French -iss-, ultimately from Latin inchoative suffix -iscere (this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish). Related: Distinguishing. The earlier form of the verb was distinguen (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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