dis·​tin·​guished | \-(g)wisht \

Definition of distinguished 

1 : marked by eminence, distinction (see distinction sense 5), or excellence distinguished leadership our distinguished guest

2 : befitting an eminent person a distinguished setting

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Synonyms & Antonyms for distinguished


august, dignified, imposing, portly, solemn, staid, stately


flighty, frivolous, giddy, goofy, silly, undignified

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Choose the Right Synonym for distinguished

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known. a famous actress renowned implies more glory and acclamation. one of the most renowned figures in sports history celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print. the most celebrated beauty of her day noted suggests well-deserved public attention. the noted mystery writer notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil. a notorious gangster distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority. a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character. the country's most eminent writers illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person. illustrious war heroes

Examples of distinguished in a Sentence

She is distinguished for her achievements in genetic research. heads turned as the well-dressed, distinguished couple strode through the hotel lobby

Recent Examples on the Web

Whatever the reason, Lovett became the latest member of a growing class of distinguished students whose graduation speeches have been silenced or blunted by school administrators. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "The black valedictorian wasn’t allowed to speak. So the mayor gave him a microphone.," 5 July 2018 That’s the worrisome mystery, driving the back half of this quirky Newbery Medal winner, honored for the most distinguished writing of 2017. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of children’s books," 24 Feb. 2018 Many letters and photographs of the estate's most distinguished guests are displayed in the hotel. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Might Be Honeymooning at Ireland's Ultra-Swanky Ashford Castle," 7 June 2018 Celebrities like Oprah and Amal Clooney were among the distinguished guests present for the union of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Brooklyn White, Teen Vogue, "Best Internet Reactions to Serena Williams's Natural Hair at the Royal Wedding," 22 May 2018 At the tradition-breaking wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday, the cars that transported the bride and groom — and distinguished guests — started out vintage and ended smack dab in the modern day. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "From Vintage to Electric: See the Regal Cars of the Royal Wedding," 19 May 2018 Several distinguished guests were present at the ceremony, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, Lt. John D. Harden, Houston Chronicle, "Fallen police officers remembered at Houston memorial," 19 May 2018 Newcomb is an anthropologist and the Diane and Michael Maher distinguished professor of teaching and learning at Rollins College. Rachel Newcomb, chicagotribune.com, "Americans have resolved to live forever or die in the attempt," 8 May 2018 Some of the distinguished guests tonight at the @rockhall 2018 Induction plus a glimpse of @thekillers doing a little @tompettyofficial tribute and @brandonflowers rehearsing his @thecars induction speech. Troy L. Smith, cleveland.com, "Rock Hall 2018: The Killers' Brandon Flowers to lead Tom Petty tribute," 14 Apr. 2018

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

1714, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distinguished

see distinguish

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Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for distinguished

The first known use of distinguished was in 1714

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More Definitions for distinguished



English Language Learners Definition of distinguished

: known by many people because of some quality or achievement

: making someone seem important and worth respect


dis·​tin·​guished | \di-ˈstiŋ-gwisht \

Kids Definition of distinguished

: widely known and admired a distinguished scientist

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Comments on distinguished

What made you want to look up distinguished? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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