dif·​fer·​ent | \ ˈdi-f(ə-)rənt How to pronounce different (audio) , ˈdi-fərnt\

Definition of different

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality : dissimilar could hardly be more different often followed by from, than, or chiefly British tosmall, neat hand, very different from the captain's tottery characters— R. L. Stevensonvastly different in size than it was twenty-five years ago— N. M. Puseya very different situation to the … one under which we live— Sir Winston Churchill
2 : not the same: such as
a : distinct different age groups
b : various different members of the class
c : another switched to a different TV program
3 : unusual, special she was different and superior



Definition of different (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from different


differentness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for different


different, diverse, divergent, disparate, various mean unlike in kind or character. different may imply little more than separateness but it may also imply contrast or contrariness. different foods diverse implies both distinctness and marked contrast. such diverse interests as dancing and football divergent implies movement away from each other and unlikelihood of ultimate meeting or reconciliation. went on to pursue divergent careers disparate emphasizes incongruity or incompatibility. disparate notions of freedom various stresses the number of sorts or kinds. tried various methods

Is it different than or different from?: Usage Guide


Numerous commentators have condemned different than in spite of its use since the 17th century by many of the best-known names in English literature. It is nevertheless standard and is even recommended in many handbooks when followed by a clause, because insisting on from in such instances often produces clumsy or wordy formulations. Different from, the generally safe choice, is more common especially when it is followed by a noun or pronoun.

Examples of different in a Sentence

Adjective The two brothers could not have been more different. We need to try an entirely different approach. They met with each other on several different occasions. advertising that tries to be different That movie certainly was different. He has a very different style of dressing.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective If the underlying learning mechanisms are so different, will the results be, too? Quanta Magazine, "Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?," 17 Sep. 2019 Get it in five different colors (and even a leather option) and just slip it over the back of your phone. CNN Money, "Protect your iPhone 11 with these stylish and rugged cases," 16 Sep. 2019 The same dynamic could develop as the season progresses, though perhaps from a slightly different formula. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "Can Ohio State football recreate the connection that made J.K. Dobbins a freshman sensation? Friday Focus," 13 Sep. 2019 Then came the magnum opus: a bilevel rooftop garden with soaring views of the Manhattan skyline and two different lounging areas. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Forward All Our Mail to Danielle Chang's Gorgeous Rooftop Garden," 13 Sep. 2019 Though its low prices might seem to put it in the same category as struggling fast-fashion labels like Forever 21, which is rumored to be preparing a bankruptcy filing, Old Navy operates a fundamentally different business. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "As apparel retail tanks, Old Navy announces plans for 800 new stores," 13 Sep. 2019 On Wednesday, the state Senate passed a slightly different bill—not a ban, but a moratorium that expires in three years. Wired, "California Bill Would Halt Facial Recognition on Body Cams," 11 Sep. 2019 The idea is not so different from Victor Gruen’s original vision of all-in-one shopping, which was inspired partly by cozy European town squares. Johnny Joo, Smithsonian, "The Rise of the Zombie Mall," 18 Sep. 2019 Every woman is different, but the menopausal transition usually starts between ages 45 and 55, per the NIA. Korin Miller, Health.com, "When Does Menopause Start—And How Long Does it Last?," 17 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'different.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of different


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1588, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for different


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin different-, differens, present participle of differre "to carry in varying directions, delay, differ"


derivative of different entry 1

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Statistics for different

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for different

The first known use of different was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for different


How to pronounce different (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of different

: not of the same kind : partly or totally unlike
: not the same
: not ordinary or common


dif·​fer·​ent | \ ˈdi-fə-rənt How to pronounce different (audio) , ˈdi-frənt\

Kids Definition of different

1 : not of the same kind They come from different backgrounds.
2 : not the same We went to different schools.
3 : not ordinary That movie was certainly different.

Other Words from different

differently adverb

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Comments on different

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