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distinctive; characteristic, as a definitive feature of an individual or group: Intricate rhyming is a distinguishing feature of her poetry.

1660–70; distinguish + -ing2

distinguishingly, adverb
nondistinguishing, adjective
self-distinguishing, adjective
undistinguishing, adjective
undistinguishingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin & History

1560s, from M.Fr. distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, from L. distinguere "to separate between, separate by pricking," from dis- "apart" + -stinguere "to prick." The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of O.Fr. -iss, ultimately from L. inchoative suffix -iscere
(this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish). Related: Distinguishing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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