distinguished; distinguishing; distinguishes
Essential Meaning of distinguish
1 : to notice or recognize a difference between people or things You're old enough to distinguish between fact and fantasy. I have trouble distinguishing between the two of them. See More ExamplesTheir voices are hard to distinguish. [=tell apart] I have trouble distinguishing the difference between the two of them. You should be able to distinguish fact from fantasy.
2 : to make (someone or something) different or special in some way The only thing that distinguishes the dogs is their bark. The recipe is distinguished by its simplicity. [=the unusual or interesting thing about the recipe is its simplicity] The singer's voice is what distinguishes the band.
3 : to see or hear (someone or something) clearly You can't distinguish the detail from this distance.
Full Definition of distinguish
1 : to perceive a difference in : mentally separate so alike they could not be distinguished
2a : to mark as separate or different a policy that distinguishes him from other candidates
b : to separate into kinds, classes, or categories distinguish words by their part of speech
d : characterize recipes distinguished by simplicity
3a : discern distinguished a light in the distance could barely distinguish them in the fog
b : to single out : take special notice of
: to perceive a difference distinguish between right and wrong
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