dis·tinct | \ di-ˈstiŋ(k)t \

Definition of distinct 

1 : distinguishable to the eye or mind as being discrete (see discrete sense 1) or not the same : separate a distinct cultural group teaching as distinct from research

2 : presenting a clear unmistakable impression a neat distinct handwriting

3 archaic : notably decorated

4a : notable a distinct contribution to scholarship

b : readily and unmistakably apprehended (see apprehend sense 2a) a distinct possibility of snow a distinct British accent the distinct odor of sulfur

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from distinct

distinctly \-ˈstiŋ(k)-tlē, -ˈstiŋ-klē \ adverb
distinctness \-ˈstiŋ(k)t-nəs, -ˈstiŋk-nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for distinct

distinct, separate, discrete mean not being each and every one the same. distinct indicates that something is distinguished by the mind or eye as being apart or different from others. two distinct versions separate often stresses lack of connection or a difference in identity between two things. separate rooms discrete strongly emphasizes individuality and lack of connection. broke the job down into discrete stages

synonyms see in addition evident

Examples of distinct in a Sentence

There are three distinct categories. Each herb has its own distinct flavor. The phrase has three distinct meanings. There was the distinct smell of something burning. The outline became less and less distinct as the light faded. We had the distinct impression that they were lying.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

These leaders reap a distinct advantaged from being insiders, but aren’t handcuffed by legacy challenges. Alexi Nazem, STAT, "Health care needs more physician CEOs like Atul Gawande," 13 July 2018 Their work not only helped create a more organized tree for the bats, but also eventually revealed two distinct genetic lineages. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Two New Yellow-Bellied Bats May Have Been Found in Kenya," 13 July 2018 Thus far, Mueller’s probe has focused on five distinct areas of interest: 1. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could Be Mueller's Biggest Move Yet," 13 July 2018 President Trump wants to make Air Force One Great Again, and according to Axios, that would involve at least two distinct changes to the presidential jet. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Wants ‘More American’ Paint Job, Bigger Bed for Air Force One," 12 July 2018 The realigned parties became much more ideologically distinct (see chart 3). The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Channeling its name, the residential, retail and office development is marked by distinct structures, inviting plazas and meandering pathways meant to entice people to take a journey through a familiar small town. Jennifer Van Grove, sandiegouniontribune.com, "One Paseo: Inside the bustling construction site," 12 July 2018 The myth of a distinct supply chain—where a person either cultivates or deals or possesses or uses, but never more than one—doesn’t tend to map onto reality. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s has announced its 2018-19 season, and there’s a distinct historical theme, with several wars in the background, but there’s also a newish play set in a dystopian otherworld. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "CT Rep Gets Historical For 2018-19; Downtown Cabaret Announces Season," 11 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of distinct

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distinct

Middle English, from Latin distinctus, from past participle of distinguere — see distinguish

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about distinct

Phrases Related to distinct

as distinct from

Statistics for distinct

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distinct

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for distinct



English Language Learners Definition of distinct

: different in a way that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc. : noticeably different

: easy to see, hear, smell, feel, etc.

: strong and definite


dis·tinct | \ di-ˈstiŋkt \

Kids Definition of distinct

1 : different from each other distinct species

2 : easy to notice or understand a distinct odor

Other words from distinct

distinctly adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on distinct

What made you want to look up distinct? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!