View synonyms for different


[ dif-er-uhnt, dif-ruhnt ]


  1. not alike in character or quality; distinct in nature; dissimilar:

    The two brothers are very different even though they're identical twins.

    Synonyms: contrary, divergent, diverse, unlike

  2. not identical; separate or distinct:

    When I asked for directions, three people gave me three different answers.

  3. Different people told me the same story.

    Synonyms: miscellaneous, divers, sundry

  4. not ordinary; unusual:

    I know my new hat is a bit different, but I thought I'd try it out.


/ ˈdɪfərənt; ˈdɪfrənt /


  1. partly or completely unlike
  2. not identical or the same; other

    he always wears a different tie

  3. out of the ordinary; unusual

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Usage Note

Although it is frequently claimed that different should be followed only by from, not by than, in actual usage both words occur and have for at least 300 years. From is more common today in introducing a phrase, but than is also used: New York speech is different from (or than ) that of Chicago. Than is used to introduce a clause: The stream followed a different course than the map showed. In sentences of this type, from is sometimes used instead of than; when it is, more words are necessary: a different course from the one the map showed. Regardless of the sentence construction, both from and than are standard after different in all varieties of spoken and written American English. In British English to frequently follows different : The early illustrations are very different to the later ones. The use of different in the sense “unusual” is well established in all but the most formal American English: The décor in the new restaurant is really different.

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The constructions different from , different to , and different than are all found in the works of writers of English during the past. Nowadays, however, the most widely acceptable preposition to use after different is from . Different to is common in British English, but is considered by some people to be incorrect, or less acceptable. Different than is a standard construction in American English, and has the advantage of conciseness when a clause or phrase follows, as in this result is only slightly different than in the US . As, however, this idiom is not regarded as totally acceptable in British usage, it is preferable either to use different from: this result is only slightly different from that obtained in the US or to rephrase the sentence: this result differs only slightly from that in the US

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Derived Forms

  • ˈdifferently, adverb
  • ˈdifferentness, noun

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Other Words From

  • differ·ent·ly adverb
  • differ·ent·ness noun
  • un·differ·ent adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of different1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin different- (stem of differēns ), present participle of differre “to scatter, disperse”; differ, -ent

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Idioms and Phrases

  • horse of a different color
  • kettle of fish, different
  • march to a different drummer
  • sing a different tune
  • wear another (different) hat

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Example Sentences

Apart from reaching your potential customers, you can display ads in a variety of formats and multiply the outcomes from different angles using these advanced ad channels.

That’s gone and will always be gone no matter how many times I watch a replay or different variation of that replay.

That’s when Washington won its third Super Bowl under Joe Gibbs, doing so with a different quarterback each time.

It’s a whole different game from high school, and then you’re just making that jump.

That doesn’t diminish their suffering — everyone is struggling in a different way — but Bufka encourages them to try to look at all they have.

I was drawn to The Class for different reasons—chiefly, the pipe dream of achieving a tighter and tauter backside.

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is a different sound for you.

He captures all the different issues a president deals with and moves from one to the next.

When he was first incarcerated, he says some sort of paperwork snafu had him imprisoned under two different, but similar, names.

Paying for things is a lot different than it used to be, too.

Fourteen genera, representing about 19 species, of Mallophaga are reported for 20 different species of bird hosts.

Whether they had ever, at different times, pleaded for or against the same cause, and cited precedents to prove contrary opinions?

“But the laws of Poloeland and those of Flatland are different,” said Amalatok, starting another objection.

Had not this Indian plant been discovered, the whole history of some portions of America would have been far different.

It had been many a moon since we took different roads, but MacRae hadn't changed that I could see.


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When To Use

What are other ways to say different?

Things that are different from one another are not alike in character or quality. How does different compare to synonyms various, distinct, and diverse? Find out on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




difference thresholddifferent as night and day