adjective dis·tinct \ di-ˈstiŋ(k)t \
Updated on: 22 Mar 2018

Definition of distinct

1 : distinguishable to the eye or mind as being discrete (see discrete 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
4 a : notable
  • a distinct contribution to scholarship
b : readily and unmistakably apprehended (see apprehend 2a)
  • a distinct possibility of snow
  • a distinct British accent
  • the distinct odor of sulfur


play \-ˈstiŋ(k)-tlē, -ˈstiŋ-klē\ adverb


play \-ˈstiŋ(k)t-nəs, -ˈstiŋk-nəs\ noun

Examples of distinct in a Sentence

  1. There are three distinct categories.

  2. Each herb has its own distinct flavor.

  3. The phrase has three distinct meanings.

  4. There was the distinct smell of something burning.

  5. The outline became less and less distinct as the light faded.

  6. We had the distinct impression that they were lying.

Recent Examples of distinct from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of distinct

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DISTINCT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of distinct for English Language Learners

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

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

  • : strong and definite

DISTINCT Defined for Kids


adjective dis·tinct \ di-ˈstiŋkt \

Definition of distinct for Students

1 : different from each other
  • distinct species
2 : easy to notice or understand
  • a distinct odor



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