[dif-er-uhnt, dif-ruhnt]
See more synonyms for different on Thesaurus.com
  1. not alike in character or quality; distinct in nature; dissimilar: The two brothers are very different, although they are identical twins.
  2. not identical; separate or distinct: When I asked for directions, three people gave me three different answers.
  3. various; several: Different people told me the same story.
  4. not ordinary; unusual: I know my new hat is a bit different, but I thought I'd try it out.

Origin of different

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin different- (stem of differēns), present participle of differre. See differ, -ent
Related formsdif·fer·ent·ly, adverbdif·fer·ent·ness, nounun·dif·fer·ent, adjectiveun·dif·fer·ent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for different

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

3. See various.

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for differently

Contemporary Examples of differently

Historical Examples of differently

  • Rima, incapable of understanding such a thing, took it differently.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • They turn up so differently from what we expected, when they turn up at all.

  • How could it be but Charlie and I should be different, seeing we had fared so differently!

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • How differently did the Romans and the Greeks govern themselves?

    Introductory American History

    Henry Eldridge Bourne

  • She was clad, too, so differently from the general run of the villagers.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for differently


  1. partly or completely unlike
  2. not identical or the same; otherhe always wears a different tie
  3. out of the ordinary; unusual
Derived Formsdifferently, adverbdifferentness, noun


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
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

Word Origin and History for differently



late 14c., from Old French different (14c.), from Latin differentem (nominative differens) "differing, different," present participle of differre "to set apart" (see differ). Colloquial sense of "special" attested by 1912. Related: Differently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with differently


In addition to the idioms beginning with different

  • different as night and day
  • different strokes for different folks

also see:

  • horse of a different color
  • kettle of fish, different
  • march to a different drummer
  • sing a different tune
  • wear another (different) hat
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.