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Distinction definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

DISTINCTION, n. [L.]
1. The act of separating or distinguishing.
2. A note or mark of difference. [Seldom used.]
3. Difference made; a separation or disagreement in kind or qualities, by which one thing is known from another. We observe a distinction between matter and spirit; a distinction between matter and spirit; a distinction between the animal and vegetable kingdoms; a distinction between good and evil, right and wrong; between sound reasoning and sophistry.
4. Difference regarded; separation; preference; as in the phrase, without distinction, which denotes promiscuously, all together, alike.
Maids, women, wives, without distinction fall.
5. Separation; division; as the distinction of tragedy into acts.
[In this sense, division would be preferable.]
6. Notation of difference; discrimination; as a distinction between real and apparent good.
In classing the qualities of actions, it is necessary to make accurate distinctions.
7. Eminence; superiority; elevation of rank in society, or elevation of character; honorable estimation. Men who hold a high rank by birth or office, and men who are eminent fro their talents, services or worth, are called men of distinction, as being raised above others by positive institutions or by reputation. So we say, a man of note.
8. That which confers eminence or superiority; office, rank or public favor.
9. Discernment; judgment.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

n
1: a discrimination between things as different and distinct; "it is necessary to make a distinction between love and infatuation" [syn: differentiation, distinction]
2: high status importance owing to marked superiority; "a scholar of great eminence" [syn: eminence, distinction, preeminence, note]
3: a distinguishing quality; "it has the distinction of being the cheapest restaurant in town"
4: a distinguishing difference; "he learned the distinction between gold and lead"

Merriam Webster's

noun Date: 13th century 1. a. archaic division b. class 4 2. the distinguishing of a difference <without distinction as to race, sex, or religion>; also the difference distinguished <the distinction between imply and infer> 3. something that distinguishes <regional distinctions> 4. the quality or state of being distinguishable <no distinction of facial features in the twins> 5. a. the quality or state of being distinguished or worthy <a politician of some distinction> b. special honor or recognition <took a law degree with distinction> <won many distinctions> c. an accomplishment that sets one apart <the distinction of being the oldest to win the title>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 a the act or an instance of discriminating or distinguishing. b an instance of this. c the difference made by distinguishing. 2 a something that differentiates, e.g. a mark, name, or title. b the fact of being different. 3 special consideration or honour. 4 distinguished character; excellence; eminence (a film of distinction; shows distinction in his bearing). 5 a grade in an examination denoting great excellence (passed with distinction). Phrases and idioms: distinction without a difference a merely nominal or artificial distinction. Etymology: ME f. OF f. L distinctio -onis (as DISTINGUISH)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Distinction Dis*tinc"tion, n. [L. distinctio: cf. F. distinction.] 1. A marking off by visible signs; separation into parts; division. [Obs.] The distinction of tragedy into acts was not known. --Dryden. 2. The act of distinguishing or denoting the differences between objects, or the qualities by which one is known from others; exercise of discernment; discrimination. To take away therefore that error, which confusion breedeth, distinction is requisite. --Hooker. 3. That which distinguishes one thing from another; distinguishing quality; sharply defined difference; as, the distinction between real and apparent good. The distinction betwixt the animal kingdom and the inferior parts of matter. --Locke. 4. Estimation of difference; regard to differences or distinguishing circumstance. Maids, women, wives, without distinction, fall. --Dryden. 5. Conspicuous station; eminence; superiority; honorable estimation; as, a man of distinction. Your country's own means of distinction and defense. --D. Webster. Syn: Difference; variation, variety; contrast; diversity; contrariety; disagreement; discrimination; preference; superiority; rank; note; eminence.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(distinctions) 1. A distinction between similar things is a difference. There are obvious distinctions between the two wine-making areas... N-COUNT: usu N between pl-n If you draw a distinction or make a distinction, you say that two things are different. I did not yet make a distinction between the pleasures of reading and of writing fiction... PHRASE: V inflects, usu PHR between pl-n 2. Distinction is the quality of being very good or better than other things of the same type. (FORMAL) Lewis emerges as a composer of distinction and sensitivity. 3. A distinction is a special award or honour that is given to someone because of their very high level of achievement. The order was created in 1902 as a special distinction for eminent men and women... = honour N-COUNT 4. If you say that someone or something has the distinction of being something, you are drawing attention to the fact that they have the special quality of being that thing. Distinction is normally used to refer to good qualities, but can sometimes also be used to refer to bad qualities. He has the distinction of being regarded as the Federal Republic's greatest living writer. N-SING: oft the N of n/-ing

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. 1. Discrimination, notice of difference, distinguishing. 2. Difference, point of difference, characteristic difference. 3. Repute, reputation, celebrity, note, name, fame, renown, account, credit, respectability, eminence, superiority.

Moby Thesaurus

Atticism, accolade, account, alteration, analysis, anatomization, ancestry, appropriateness, aristocracy, aristocraticalness, atomization, award, badge, bays, birth, blood, blue blood, celebrity, change, characterization, chasteness, chastity, clarity, classicalism, classicism, clearness, comeliness, consequence, conspicuousness, contradistinction, contrariety, contrast, correctness, credit, decoration, definition, delicacy, delicate distinction, demarcation, departure, description, desynonymization, deviation, difference, differencing, differentia, differential, differentiation, dignity, directness, disaccord, disaccordance, disagreement, disconformity, discongruity, discordance, discrepancy, discreteness, discrimination, disequalization, disjunction, disparity, dissemblance, dissent, dissimilarity, dissimilitude, dissonance, distinctiveness, distinctness, distinguishment, divergence, divergency, diversification, diversity, dividing line, division, ease, elegance, elegancy, elevation, eminence, esteem, exaltation, excellence, fame, far cry, felicitousness, felicity, fine point, finish, fittingness, flow, flowing periods, fluency, genteelness, gentility, glory, good taste, grace, gracefulness, gracility, grandeur, great honor, greatness, hairline, hairsplitting, heroism, heterogeneity, high mightiness, honor, honorable descent, illustriousness, importance, inaccordance, incompatibility, incongruity, inconsistency, inconsonance, individualization, individuation, inequality, inharmoniousness, inharmony, irreconcilability, kudos, laurels, limpidity, loftiness, lucidity, magnanimity, majesty, margin, mark, memorability, merit, microscopic distinction, mixture, modification, narrow margin, naturalness, neatness, nice distinction, nicety, nobility, noble birth, nobleness, nonconformity, notability, note, noteworthiness, nuance, odds, opposition, ornament, otherness, outstandingness, particle of difference, particularization, pellucidity, personalization, perspicuity, plainness, point of difference, polish, preeminence, prestige, prominence, propriety, purity, quality, rank, refinement, remarkableness, renown, reputation, repute, restraint, royalty, salience, seemliness, segregation, separateness, separation, severalization, severance, shade of difference, significance, simplicity, smoothness, specialization, straightforwardness, sublimity, subtle distinction, subtlety, supereminence, superiority, taste, tastefulness, terseness, trichoschistism, unaffectedness, unconformity, uniqueness, unlikeness, unorthodoxy, value, variance, variation, variegation, variety, wide margin, worth



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