AskDefine | Define distinction

Dictionary Definition



1 a discrimination between things as different and distinct; "it is necessary to make a distinction between love and infatuation" [syn: differentiation]
2 high status importance owing to marked superiority; "a scholar of great eminence" [syn: eminence, preeminence, note]
3 a distinguishing quality; "it has the distinction of being the cheapest restaurant in town"
4 a distinguishing difference; "he learned the distinction between gold and lead"

User Contributed Dictionary



From distinction, from distinctionem, from distinguere ‘distinguish’.


  • /dɪˈstɪŋkʃən/


  1. That which distinguishes; a single occurrence of a determining factor.
  2. The state of being distinguishable.
  3. A feature that causes someone or something to stand out as being better; being distinguished.

Derived terms


that which distinguishes
  • German: Unterschied
  • Greek: διάκριση
  • Norwegian: distinksjon
  • Portuguese: distinção
the state of being distinguishable
  • Norwegian: forskjell
a feature that causes someone or something to be better
  • German: Auszeichnung
  • Greek: διάκριση
  • Portuguese: distinção



distinctionem, from distinguere ‘distinguish’.


  • /distɛ̃ksjɔ̃/


fr-noun f
  1. distinction (difference, honour)

Extensive Definition

  • Distinction, the fundamental philosophical abstraction, involves the recognition of two or more things being distinct, i.e. different.
  • Distinction (social) is a social force that places different values on different individuals. (social, class, and style)
  • Distinction (law) is a principle under international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict.
  • For Pierre Bourdieu's book, "Distinction", see La distinction.
  • Distinción'', the practice in Spanish of separating the phonemes /s/ and /θ/. See Ceceo.
  • Distinction - a high grade awarded to students whose assessed work is of exceptional quality.
distinction in French: Distinction

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Atticism, accolade, account, alteration, analysis, anatomization, ancestry, appropriateness, aristocracy, aristocraticalness, atomization, award, badge, bays, birth, blood, blue blood, celebrity, change, characterization, chasteness, chastity, clarity, classicalism, classicism, clearness, comeliness, consequence, conspicuousness, contradistinction, contrariety, contrast, correctness, credit, decoration, definition, delicacy, delicate distinction, demarcation, departure, description, desynonymization, deviation, difference, differencing, differentia, differential, differentiation, dignity, directness, disaccord, disaccordance, disagreement, disconformity, discongruity, discordance, discrepancy, discreteness, discrimination, disequalization, disjunction, disparity, dissemblance, dissent, dissimilarity, dissimilitude, dissonance, distinctiveness, distinctness, distinguishment, divergence, divergency, diversification, diversity, dividing line, division, ease, elegance, elegancy, elevation, eminence, esteem, exaltation, excellence, fame, far cry, felicitousness, felicity, fine point, finish, fittingness, flow, flowing periods, fluency, genteelness, gentility, glory, good taste, grace, gracefulness, gracility, grandeur, great honor, greatness, hairline, hairsplitting, heroism, heterogeneity, high mightiness, honor, honorable descent, illustriousness, importance, inaccordance, incompatibility, incongruity, inconsistency, inconsonance, individualization, individuation, inequality, inharmoniousness, inharmony, irreconcilability, kudos, laurels, limpidity, loftiness, lucidity, magnanimity, majesty, margin, mark, memorability, merit, microscopic distinction, mixture, modification, narrow margin, naturalness, neatness, nice distinction, nicety, nobility, noble birth, nobleness, nonconformity, notability, note, noteworthiness, nuance, odds, opposition, ornament, otherness, outstandingness, particle of difference, particularization, pellucidity, personalization, perspicuity, plainness, point of difference, polish, preeminence, prestige, prominence, propriety, purity, quality, rank, refinement, remarkableness, renown, reputation, repute, restraint, royalty, salience, seemliness, segregation, separateness, separation, severalization, severance, shade of difference, significance, simplicity, smoothness, specialization, straightforwardness, sublimity, subtle distinction, subtlety, supereminence, superiority, taste, tastefulness, terseness, trichoschistism, unaffectedness, unconformity, uniqueness, unlikeness, unorthodoxy, value, variance, variation, variegation, variety, wide margin, worth
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