distinction

noun
dis·​tinc·​tion | \ di-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce distinction (audio) \

Definition of distinction

1 : the act of perceiving someone or something as being not the same and often treating as separate or different : the distinguishing of a difference without distinction as to race, sex, or religion also : the difference distinguished the distinction between imply and infer
2 : something that distinguishes regional distinctions
3 : the quality or state of being distinguishable no distinction of facial features in the twins
4a : the quality or state of being excellent or superior : the quality or state of being distinguished or worthy a politician of some distinction
b : special honor or recognition took a law degree with distinction won many distinctions
c : an accomplishment that sets one apart holds the distinction of being the only American to win the prize
5a : class sense 4 Mr. Hemingway's … prose is of the first distinction.— Edmund Wilson
b archaic : division

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Examples of distinction in a Sentence

There are no obvious distinctions between the two designs. She made a distinction between the words “less” and “fewer.” He was raised in a small town of no great distinction. Her talents gave distinction to the work.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Only seven contestants total earned that coveted distinction this season, which means those two are among the strongest vocalists in the entire competition. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coach John Legend Made a Huge Mistake During the Battle Rounds," 30 Mar. 2019 Understanding these distinctions may feel superfluous at first, but choosing the wrong option can lead to an undesired look (with a high price tag). Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Drapes or Curtains? Why Choosing the Right Window Treatment Matters," 27 Mar. 2019 Instead, the distinction rests with Germany’s zeppelin force of World War I. Loaded with bombs, these airships crossed the Baltic and North Seas to attack Great Britain, attempting to lower morale and drive Britain out of the war. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Huge Concrete “Mirrors” That Helped the U.K. Predict Air Raids During World War I," 10 Jan. 2019 California has seen an explosion in home prices The growth of million-dollar neighborhoods has accelerated over the last year, when 105 areas earned that distinction. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The number of ‘million-dollar neighborhoods’ in the U.S. has doubled," 9 Nov. 2018 The once obvious distinction between white-shoe-firm lawyer and ambulance chaser is no longer so clear. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Year of the Celebrity Super Lawyer," 3 Dec. 2018 However, the great distinction between spices and herbs is in the manner and timing of their usage, which all comes down to one issue: HEAT. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "How Herbs and Spices Can Make You Cook Like a Pro," 13 Nov. 2018 The church, which avoids denominational, cultural, economic, or racial distinctions, according to the website, held its first service at Magnolia in March. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Surprise Guests During First Church Services at Magnolia Market," 5 Mar. 2019 Media experts wary of Twitter quitters said a distinction between the platform and how people use it should not be lost. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Some journalists wonder if their profession is tweet-crazy," 29 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distinction.' 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 distinction

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5b

History and Etymology for distinction

see distinct

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Statistics for distinction

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distinction

The first known use of distinction was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for distinction

distinction

noun

English Language Learners Definition of distinction

: a difference that you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc. : a noticeable difference between things or people
: the separation of people or things into different groups
: importance, excellence, or achievement

distinction

noun
dis·​tinc·​tion | \ di-ˈstiŋk-shən How to pronounce distinction (audio) \

Kids Definition of distinction

1 : difference sense 1 the distinction between right and wrong
2 : the act of seeing or pointing out a difference He made a distinction between the two words.
3 : great worth : excellence a writer of distinction
4 : something that makes a person or thing special or different Our house has the distinction of being the oldest one in town.

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Comments on distinction

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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