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

Narratives compress these distinct pieces into a simple national story. Julia Azari, Vox, "Narratives are simple. Elections are complicated.," 8 Nov. 2018 Every character has a distinct way of dressing, based on their looks in the comics, that's integral to their development. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Why The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Is the Perfect Last-Minute Halloween Costume Inspiration," 25 Oct. 2018 Making both Argo and AV LLC distinct companies from Ford also creates the possibility that other companies will want to make their own investments, just as Softbank and Honda recently did when taking big positions in the semi-independent Cruise. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Ford’s plan for driverless cars goes beyond technology," 24 Oct. 2018 All molecules constantly jiggle with distinct tempos, based on their structure. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 The rapper has been busy carving her own space as a fashion and beauty icon, and her distinct style has already made an impression. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Cardi B’s Best Hair and Makeup Looks," 17 Oct. 2018 But the second royal couple of the year still managed to make their day distinct. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "How Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Compares to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's," 12 Oct. 2018 But perhaps the most distinct part about the gown is the back of it, which features a low cut. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Royal Fans Love How Princess Eugenie's Wedding Dress Shows Off Her Scoliosis Scar," 12 Oct. 2018 Everything from her sleek updo, to her fresh, minimal makeup, and even her scooped dress silhouette, seems to have a distinct touch of the Duchess of Sussex about it. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Dress and Beauty Look Inspired Princess Deniz of Bavaria's Bridal Choices," 3 Sep. 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

Statistics for distinct

Last Updated

14 Nov 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).


an inexhaustible supply or amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
True or False

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

Add Diction

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!