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90s Slang You Should Know


[dif-er-uh ns, dif-ruh ns] /ˈdɪf ər əns, ˈdɪf rəns/
the state or relation of being different; dissimilarity:
There is a great difference between the two.
an instance or point of unlikeness or dissimilarity:
What accounts for the differences in their behavior?
a significant change in or effect on a situation:
His tact makes a difference in the way people accept his suggestions.
a distinguishing characteristic; distinctive quality, feature, etc.:
The difference in the two products is quality.
the degree to which one person or thing differs from another.
the act of distinguishing; discrimination; distinction.
a disagreement in opinion.
a dispute or quarrel.
Also called finite distance. Mathematics.
  1. the amount by which one quantity is greater or less than another.
  2. relative complement.
  3. (of a function f) an expression of the form f (x + h) − f (x).
a differentia.
verb (used with object), differenced, differencing.
to cause or constitute a difference in or between; make different.
to perceive the difference in or between; discriminate.
split the difference,
  1. to compromise, especially to make equal concessions.
  2. to divide the remainder equally:
    Let's take half of the cake and let the three of them split the difference.
Origin of difference
1300-50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin differentia, equivalent to different- carrying different ways (see different) + -ia -ia; see -ence
1. inconsistency, variation, diversity, imbalance, inequality, divergence, contrast, contrariety.
1. similarity, agreement.
Synonym Study
1.Difference, discrepancy, disparity, dissimilarity imply perceivable unlikeness, variation, or diversity. Difference refers to a lack of identity or a degree of unlikeness: a difference of opinion; a difference of six inches. Discrepancy usually refers to an inconsistency between things that should agree, balance, or harmonize: a discrepancy between the statements of two witnesses. Disparity implies inequality, often where a greater equality might reasonably be expected: a great disparity between the ages of husband and wife. Dissimilarity indicates an essential lack of resemblance between things in some respect comparable: a dissimilarity between social customs in Asia and America. 6. See distinction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for difference
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Between righteousness and morals the difference is important.

  • How strange it seems to think of the difference that hung on that one act!

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • But now that she knew of it she felt very acutely the difference it had made in Vere.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • The difference in the name accounted for his inability to trace her.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • "That ought not to make any difference, mamma," said Lady Sarah.

    Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for difference


/ˈdɪfərəns; ˈdɪfrəns/
the state or quality of being unlike
a specific instance of being unlike
a distinguishing mark or feature
a significant change in a situation: the difference in her is amazing
a disagreement or argument: he had a difference with his wife
a degree of distinctness, as between two people or things
  1. the result of the subtraction of one number, quantity, etc, from another
  2. the single number that when added to the subtrahend gives the minuend; remainder
(logic) another name for differentia
(maths, of two sets)
  1. the set of members of the first that are not members of the second A – B
  2. symmetric difference, the set of members of one but not both of the given sets Often symbolized A + B
(heraldry) an addition to the arms of a family to represent a younger branch
make a difference
  1. to have an effect
  2. to treat differently
split the difference
  1. to settle a dispute by a compromise
  2. to divide a remainder equally
with a difference, with some peculiarly distinguishing quality, good or bad
verb (transitive)
(rare) to distinguish
(heraldry) to add a charge to (arms) to differentiate a branch of a family
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 difference

mid-14c., from Old French difference (12c.) "difference, distinction; argument, dispute," from Latin differentia "diversity, difference," from differentem (nominative differens), present participle of differre "to set apart" (see differ). Sense of "a quarrel" first attested late 14c. Colloquial phrase what's the diff? first recorded 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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difference in Medicine

difference dif·fer·ence (dĭf'ər-əns, dĭf'rəns)
The magnitude or degree by which one quantity differs from another of the same kind.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for difference


Related Terms

the same difference

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with difference


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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