Definitions for distinguishdɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word distinguish

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

dis•tin•guish*dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ(v.t.)

  1. to mark off as different (often fol. by from or by):

    His height distinguishes him from the other boys.

  2. to recognize as distinct or different; recognize the individual features or characteristics of.

  3. to perceive clearly by sight or other sense; discern; recognize.

  4. to set apart as different; characterize:

    Her Italian accent distinguishes her.

  5. to make prominent or eminent:

    to distinguish oneself in the arts.

  6. to divide into classes; classify.

  7. Archaic. to single out for special attention or honor.

  8. (v.i.)to indicate or show a difference (usu. fol. by between).

  9. to recognize or note differences; discriminate.

* Syn: distinguish , differentiate , discriminate mean to note the difference between two or more similar things. To distinguish is to recognize differences based on characteristic features or qualities: to distinguish a light cruiser from a heavy cruiser. To differentiate is to find and point out the exact differences in detail: The symptoms of both diseases are so similar that it is hard to differentiate one from the other. To discriminate is to note fine or subtle distinctions and to judge their significance: to discriminate prejudiced from unprejudiced testimony.

Origin of distinguish:

1555–65; 蠐 L distinguere; see distinct


Princeton's WordNet

  1. distinguish, separate, differentiate, secern, secernate, severalize, severalise, tell, tell apart(verb)

    mark as different

    "We distinguish several kinds of maple"

  2. spot, recognize, recognise, distinguish, discern, pick out, make out, tell apart(verb)

    detect with the senses

    "The fleeing convicts were picked out of the darkness by the watchful prison guards"; "I can't make out the faces in this photograph"

  3. distinguish, mark, differentiate(verb)

    be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in a very positive sense

    "His modesty distinguishes him from his peers"

  4. signalize, signalise, distinguish(verb)

    make conspicuous or noteworthy

  5. identify, discover, key, key out, distinguish, describe, name(verb)

    identify as in botany or biology, for example

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. distinguish(verb)ɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ

    to recognize the difference between two things or two people

    the ability to distinguish cheap wine from expensive wine; the doctor's job of distinguishing between a physical illness and depression

  2. distinguishɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ

    (of feature or quality) to make a person or thing different from another

    What distinguishes the company from its competitors?

  3. distinguishɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ

    gain respect by doing sth very well

    He distinguished himself as a community leader.


  1. distinguish(Verb)

    To see someone or something as different from others.

  2. distinguish(Verb)

    To see someone or something clearly or distinctly.

  3. distinguish(Verb)

    To make one's self noticeably different or better from others through accomplishments.

  4. Origin: From distingwen, from distinguer, from distinguere, from di- for dis- + *; see sting, stigma, style. Compare extinguish.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Distinguish(verb)

    not set apart from others by visible marks; to make distinctive or discernible by exhibiting differences; to mark off by some characteristic

  2. Distinguish(verb)

    to separate by definition of terms or logical division of a subject with regard to difference; as, to distinguish sounds into high and low

  3. Distinguish(verb)

    to recognize or discern by marks, signs, or characteristic quality or qualities; to know and discriminate (anything) from other things with which it might be confounded; as, to distinguish the sound of a drum

  4. Distinguish(verb)

    to constitute a difference; to make to differ

  5. Distinguish(verb)

    to separate from others by a mark of honor; to make eminent or known; to confer distinction upon; -- with by or for

  6. Distinguish(verb)

    to make distinctions; to perceive the difference; to exercise discrimination; -- with between; as, a judge distinguishes between cases apparently similar, but differing in principle

  7. Distinguish(verb)

    to become distinguished or distinctive; to make one's self or itself discernible


  1. Distinguishing

    In law, to distinguish a case means a court decides the holding or legal reasoning of a precedent case will not apply due to materially different facts between the two cases. There are two formal constraints on the later court: the factors in the ratio of the earlier case must be retained in formulating the ratio of the later case, and the ruling in the later case must still support the result reached in the precedent case. The ruling made by the judge must be based around not only the evidence they are faced with, but the precedents in which they must follow. This means that a precedent will be dealt to a case with similar facts, in which a decision can then be distinguished based upon this.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'distinguish' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4481

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'distinguish' in Verbs Frequency: #485

Translations for distinguish

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


(often with from ) to mark as different

What distinguishes this caf; é from all the others?

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