dis·​tinct di-ˈstiŋ(k)t How to pronounce distinct (audio)
: 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
: presenting a clear unmistakable impression
a neat distinct handwriting
archaic : notably decorated
: notable
a distinct contribution to scholarship
: readily and unmistakably apprehended (see apprehend sense 2a)
a distinct possibility of snow
a distinct British accent
the distinct odor of sulfur
di-ˈstiŋ(k)-tlē How to pronounce distinct (audio)
di-ˈstiŋ(k)t-nəs How to pronounce distinct (audio)
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 And yet, Wilders may not be able to make much of his current gains, given the complexity of building a government with centrist support, or the distinct possibility that a ruling coalition with him at the helm is still a non-starter for many would-be allies. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2023 Researchers found that Ryan Larkin’s brain showed a distinct pattern of damage unique to people exposed to blast waves. Dave Philipps, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023 Their unique design and estate-sale vibe provide a distinct and appealing decorative element, perfect for enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your home. Poppy Morgan, Rolling Stone, 24 Nov. 2023 For Arce, incorporating seasonal elements important to native communities and their distinct traditions into Thanksgiving can help honor their survival and resilience. Cara Tabachnick, CBS News, 23 Nov. 2023 The move will make the two companies more distinct, East Buy said. WSJ, 22 Nov. 2023 The Indigo Disk takes places in the Blueberry Academy’s secure, underwater campus, which houses four distinct biomes. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023 The duo combined for 34 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks, taking advantage of a distinct size advantage on offense and defense. John W. Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2023 Mia, for example, comes with a star sticker on the forehead and Roberta with her distinct cherry-red locks. Jessica Roiz, Billboard, 14 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'distinct.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near distinct

Cite this Entry

“Distinct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distinct. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​tinct dis-ˈtiŋ(k)t How to pronounce distinct (audio)
: real and different from each other
five distinct varieties
pears as distinct from apples
: clearly seen, heard, or understood : plain, unmistakable
speaks with a distinct accent
a distinct possibility
: notable
made a distinct contribution to science
distinctly adverb
distinctness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on distinct

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