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[kon-truh-di-stingk-shuh n] /ˌkɒn trə dɪˈstɪŋk ʃən/
distinction by opposition or contrast:
plants and animals in contradistinction to humans.
Origin of contradistinction
First recorded in 1640-50; contra-1 + distinction
Related forms
contradistinctive, adjective
contradistinctively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contradistinction
Historical Examples
  • The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • Osiris is the god of good, in contradistinction to Set, the god of evil.

  • Fresh-water lakes, in contradistinction to rivers or narrow waters.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Those which lie up rivers; a term in contradistinction to out-ports.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • One with double faces; top-mauls in contradistinction to pin-mauls.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The receding or running out of the sea, in contradistinction to flood.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Also, hollow or curved leeches of sails, in contradistinction to straight.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • That which is wholly managed at home, and the term is in contradistinction to commerce.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • That which has not been tarred, in contradistinction to tarred line.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • In contradistinction to those who are "near the kirk but far frae grace."

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
British Dictionary definitions for contradistinction


a distinction made by contrasting different qualities
Derived Forms
contradistinctive, adjective
contradistinctively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contradistinction

1640s, from contra- + distinction.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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