Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a. The act of distinguishing; differentiation: economists making an ongoing distinction between domestic and foreign markets.
b. The condition or fact of being dissimilar or distinct; difference: "the crucial distinction between education and indoctrination" (A. Bartlett Giamatti). See Synonyms at difference.
2. A distinguishing factor, attribute, or characteristic: a legal system blind to distinctions of race, gender, and class.
a. Excellence or eminence, as of performance, character, or reputation: a diplomat of distinction.
b. A special quality or accomplishment conferring uniqueness or honor: has the distinction of being the tallest in his class.
c. Recognition of achievement or superiority; honor: graduated with distinction.
d. An award or honor given to someone for outstanding achievement: won many distinctions while in the military.


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


(dɪˈstɪŋk ʃən)

1. a distinguishing as different.
2. the recognizing of differences; discrimination: to make a distinction between right and wrong.
3. a discrimination made between things as different: Death comes to all without distinction.
4. the condition of being different; difference: the distinction between talk and action.
5. a distinguishing quality: It has the distinction of being the oldest house in town.
6. a distinguishing or treating with special honor, attention, or favor.
7. marked superiority.
8. distinguished appearance.


1. 'difference'

The difference between things is the way or ways in which they are not the same.

Is there much difference between British and European law?
There are many differences between computers and humans.

If something makes a difference to a situation, it affects it, usually in a positive way. If something makes no difference to a situation, it doesn't affect it.

The training certainly made a difference to staff performance.
The story about her past made no difference to his feelings for her.
2. 'distinction'

If someone points out that two things are different, don't say that they 'make a difference' between the things. You say that they make a distinction or draw a distinction between them.

It is important to make a distinction between claimants who are over retirement age and those who are not.
He draws a distinction between art and culture.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.distinction - a discrimination between things as different and distinctdistinction - a discrimination between things as different and distinct; "it is necessary to make a distinction between love and infatuation"
discrimination, secernment - the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
contradistinction - a distinction drawn on the basis of contrast; "sculpture in contradistinction to painting"
dividing line, demarcation, contrast, line - a conceptual separation or distinction; "there is a narrow line between sanity and insanity"
hairsplitting, word-splitting - making too fine distinctions of little importance; "they didn't take his hairsplitting seriously"
2.distinction - high status importance owing to marked superiority; "a scholar of great eminence"
high status - a position of superior status
king - preeminence in a particular category or group or field; "the lion is the king of beasts"
3.distinction - a distinguishing quality; "it has the distinction of being the cheapest restaurant in town"
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
4.distinction - a distinguishing difference; "he learned the distinction between gold and lead"
difference - the quality of being unlike or dissimilar; "there are many differences between jazz and rock"


3. feature, quality, characteristic, name, mark, individuality, peculiarity, singularity, distinctiveness, particularity He has the distinction of being their greatest living writer.
4. merit, credit, honour, integrity, excellence, righteousness, rectitude, uprightness She had served her country with distinction and strength.


1. The act or an instance of distinguishing:
3. A position of exalted widely recognized importance:
4. A special feature or quality that confers superiority:
5. Recognition of achievement or superiority or a sign of this:
accolade, honor, kudos, laurel (often used in plural).
إمْتِيازتـَمْييزتَمييز، تَفْريق
greinarmunursómi, heiîur; viîurkenning
ayırımfark gözetmeüstün başarı/derece
sự phân biệt


[dɪsˈtɪŋkʃən] N
1. (= difference) → distinción f
to draw a distinction betweenhacer una distinción entre
2. (= eminence) → distinción f
a man of distinctionun hombre distinguido
a writer of distinctionun escritor destacado
to gain or win distinctiondistinguirse (as como) you have the distinction of being the firsta usted le corresponde el honor de ser el primero
3. (Univ, Scol) → sobresaliente m
he got a distinction in Englishle dieron un sobresaliente en inglés


[dɪˈstɪŋkʃən] n
(= differentiation) → distinction f (= difference) → différence f
the distinction between sth and sth → la différence entre qch et qch
to make a distinction between
to draw a distinction between → faire la distinction entre
(= pre-eminence) → mérite m
to have the distinction of being sth → avoir le mérite d'être qch
a writer of distinction → un écrivain réputé
(= privilege) → honneur m
I had the distinction of being invited to speak → J'ai eu l'honneur d'être invité à prendre la parole.
(in exam)mention f très bien
I got a distinction in my piano exam → J'ai eu la mention très bien à mon examen de piano.


(= difference)Unterschied m; (= act of distinguishing)Unterscheidung f; to make or draw a distinction (between two things)(zwischen zwei Dingen) unterscheiden or einen Unterschied machen
no pl (= preeminence)(hoher) Rang m, → Distinktion f (dated geh); (= refinement)Vornehmheit f; she has an air of distinction about hersie hat etwas Vornehmes or Distinguiertes (geh)(an sich); a pianist of distinctionein Pianist von Rang; he has the distinction of being the oldest living personer zeichnet sich dadurch aus, dass er der älteste Mensch ist
(Sch, Univ: = grade) → Auszeichnung f; he got a distinction in Frencher hat das Französischexamen mit Auszeichnung bestanden; he was awarded several academic distinctionsihm sind mehrere akademische Auszeichnungen verliehen worden


[dɪsˈtɪŋkʃn] n (difference) → distinzione f, differenza; (mark of honour) → onorificenza
a writer of distinction → un eminente scrittore
to draw a distinction between → fare distinzione tra
she got a distinction in English (Scol) → ha avuto il massimo dei voti in inglese (Univ) → ha ottenuto la lode


(diˈstiŋkt) adjective
1. easily seen, heard or noticed. There are distinct differences between the two; Her voice is very distinct.
2. separate or different. Those two birds are quite distinct – you couldn't confuse them.
diˈstinctly adverb
He pronounces his words very distinctly; I distinctly heard him tell you to wait!
diˈstinctness noun
diˈstinction (-ʃən) noun
1. (the making of) a difference. He makes no distinction between male and female employees with regard to pay.
2. a grade awarded that indicates outstanding ability or achievement. She passed her exams with distinction.
diˈstinctive (-tiv) adjective
different and easily identified. I recognized her from a long way off – she has a very distinctive walk!
diˈstinctively adverb


تـَمْييز rozlišení udmærkelse Unterscheidung διάκριση distinción erottaminen distinction razlika distinzione 区別 구별 onderscheiding forskjell rozróżnienie distinção различие utmärkelse ความแตกต่าง fark gözetme sự phân biệt 区分
References in classic literature ?
Distinction of sides is intended by Nature to imply distinction of colours" -- such was the sophism which in those days flew from mouth to mouth, converting whole towns at a time to the new culture.
JAMRACH the Rich, being anxious to reach the City of Political Distinction before nightfall, arrived at a fork of the road and was undecided which branch to follow; so he consulted a Wise-Looking Person who sat by the wayside.
There," said the Ferryman, hauling him ashore and disengaging him, "you are now in the City of Political Distinction.
Coleridge and other English critics at the beginning of the present century had a great deal to say concerning a psychological distinction of much importance (as it appeared to them) between the fancy and the imagination.
It may be urged, as a most forcible argument, that there must be some essential distinction between species and varieties, and that there must be some error in all the foregoing remarks, inasmuch as varieties, however much they may differ from each other in external appearance, cross with perfect facility, and yield perfectly fertile offspring.
It has indeed happened, that governments of this kind have generally operated in the manner which the distinction taken notice of, supposes to be inherent in their nature; but there have been in most of them extensive exceptions to the practice, which serve to prove, as far as example will go, that there is no absolute rule on the subject.
We may illustrate the distinction by a quotation from William James ("Psychology," i,
Plots are either Simple or Complex, for the actions in real life, of which the plots are an imitation, obviously show a similar distinction.
Thinking it a mark of distinction, the Dog grew proud of his bell and went tinkling it all over the marketplace.
But if this distinction is to be made between every people and every general assembly, and some few men of consequence, it may be doubtful whether it is true; nay, it is clear enough that, with respect to a few, it is not; since the same conclusion might be applied even to brutes: and indeed wherein do some men differ from brutes?
A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of
Beware of making any distinctions which may infringe equality.