- 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.
- the amount by which one quantity is greater or less than another.
- relative complement.
- (of a function f) an expression of the form f(x + h) − f(x).
- a differentia.
- to cause or constitute a difference in or between; make different.
- to perceive the difference in or between; discriminate.
- split the difference,
- to compromise, especially to make equal concessions.
- to divide the remainder equally: Let's take half of the cake and let the three of them split the difference.
Origin of difference
SynonymsSee more synonyms for difference on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for difference
Again, the difference can seem subtle and sound more like splitting hairs, but the difference is important.How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models
January 8, 2015
One difference was that Chen was herself wearing white gloves.Funeral Protest Is Too Much for NYPD Union Boss
January 5, 2015
That is the difference between the protections embedded in our Bill of Rights and the lived lives of our citizenry.What Would Happen if I Got in White Cop’s Face?
December 30, 2014
But this may be a distinction without much of a difference—especially since Scalise admitted speaking before EURO.GOP Boss Gets Help From ‘White Hate’ Pal
December 30, 2014
The difference was emphasized immediately after QZ8501 went missing.The Presumed Crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Is Nothing Like MH370
December 29, 2014
"It makes no difference to you where I got it," said our hero, returning the money to his pocket.
There was one difference, however, between the surprise felt by the two.
The difference too is radical; it goes to the heart of the mystery.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.
Ascribes to the difference in each of their tempers their mutual love.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
- the state or quality of being unlike
- a specific instance of being unlike
- a distinguishing mark or feature
- a significant change in a situationthe difference in her is amazing
- a disagreement or argumenthe had a difference with his wife
- a degree of distinctness, as between two people or things
- the result of the subtraction of one number, quantity, etc, from another
- the single number that when added to the subtrahend gives the minuend; remainder
- logic another name for differentia
- maths (of two sets)
- the set of members of the first that are not members of the secondSymbol: A – B
- symmetric differencethe set of members of one but not both of the given setsOften symbolized: A + B
- heraldry an addition to the arms of a family to represent a younger branch
- make a difference
- to have an effect
- to treat differently
- split the difference
- to settle a dispute by a compromise
- to divide a remainder equally
- with a difference with some peculiarly distinguishing quality, good or bad
- rare to distinguish
- heraldry to add a charge to (arms) to differentiate a branch of a family
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.
- The magnitude or degree by which one quantity differs from another of the same kind.
Idioms and Phrases with difference
see make a difference; split the difference. Also see under different.