dif·​fer·​ent | \ ˈdi-f(ə-)rənt How to pronounce different (audio) , ˈdi-fərnt \

Essential Meaning of different

1 : not of the same kind : partly or totally unlike The two brothers could not have been more different. The students come from (very) different backgrounds. We need to try an entirely different approach.
2 : not the same They met with each other on several different occasions.
3 : not ordinary or common : unusual advertising that tries to be different That movie certainly was different. He has a very different style of dressing.

Full Definition of different

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality : dissimilar could hardly be more different often followed by from, than, or chiefly British to small, neat hand, very different from the captain's tottery characters— R. L. Stevensonvastly different in size than it was twenty-five years ago— N. M. Puseya very different situation to the … one under which we live— Sir Winston Churchill
2 : not the same: such as
a : distinct different age groups
b : various different members of the class
c : another switched to a different TV program
3 : unusual, special she was different and superior



Definition of different (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from different


differentness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for different


different, diverse, divergent, disparate, various mean unlike in kind or character. different may imply little more than separateness but it may also imply contrast or contrariness. different foods diverse implies both distinctness and marked contrast. such diverse interests as dancing and football divergent implies movement away from each other and unlikelihood of ultimate meeting or reconciliation. went on to pursue divergent careers disparate emphasizes incongruity or incompatibility. disparate notions of freedom various stresses the number of sorts or kinds. tried various methods

Is it different than or different from?: Usage Guide


Numerous commentators have condemned different than in spite of its use since the 17th century by many of the best-known names in English literature. It is nevertheless standard and is even recommended in many handbooks when followed by a clause, because insisting on from in such instances often produces clumsy or wordy formulations. Different from, the generally safe choice, is more common especially when it is followed by a noun or pronoun.

Examples of different in a Sentence

Adjective The two brothers could not have been more different. We need to try an entirely different approach. They met with each other on several different occasions. advertising that tries to be different That movie certainly was different. He has a very different style of dressing.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The 30-year-old’s career change is drawing attention to the different types of careers female athletes often pursue when their time playing comes to a close. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 20 Sep. 2021 Then, suddenly, Fickell was dealing with a different kind of noise — coaching rumors. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 18 Sep. 2021 Seek out ways to connect with as many different types of people as possible. Vitaly Alexandrov, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 But this year’s nominations have also been fairly receptive to new shows, traditionally at a disadvantage at the Emmys, as well as to the many different types of series out there. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 To make its case for an additional dose, Moderna’s scientists published results from another study on Sept. 15, in the journal Nature Medicine, comparing the efficacy of four different types of booster approaches. Alice Park, Time, 16 Sep. 2021 Ophthalmologists explain the different types of glaucoma that can affect eye health. Amy Marturana Winderl, Health.com, 16 Sep. 2021 That’s an irresistible set-up, especially since the angular, intense Grillo and the meaty, affable Butler excel at playing different types of scuzzballs. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 16 Sep. 2021 For example, cinnamon is a conglomeration of different types of smells that your brain puts together to recognize as cinnamon. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 16 Sep. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1588, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for different


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin different-, differens, present participle of differre "to carry in varying directions, delay, differ"


derivative of different entry 1

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Learn More About different

Time Traveler for different

Time Traveler

The first known use of different was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near different



different animal

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Statistics for different

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Different.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/different. Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for different


dif·​fer·​ent | \ ˈdi-fə-rənt How to pronounce different (audio) , ˈdi-frənt \

Kids Definition of different

1 : not of the same kind They come from different backgrounds.
2 : not the same We went to different schools.
3 : not ordinary That movie was certainly different.

Other Words from different

differently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on different

Nglish: Translation of different for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of different for Arabic Speakers


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