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.
Recent Examples on the Web The flans, cakes, puddings, ice creams and custards all had a distinct nutty, earthy taste with hints of sweet vanilla. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2024 With the advance of increasingly powerful AI, intermediary data types need to be regulated in a way that account for their specificities, such as their distinct use, value, or privacy-preserving features. Rachel Ventresca, Fortune, 7 June 2024 The recent opening of Beartooth coincides with the launch of Montana’s Great Wide Open, a series of road trips that guide travelers through three distinct Montana landscapes. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 7 June 2024 Because of their differences, regulators’ pursuit of cases against the company (if at all) would look distinct. Laura Bratton, Quartz, 7 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for distinct 

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 20 Jun. 2024.

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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