[ dih-sting-gwisht ]
/ dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃt /


made conspicuous by excellence; noted; eminent; famous: a distinguished scholar.
having an air of distinction, dignity, or eminence: a distinguished old gentleman.
conspicuous; marked.

Origin of distinguished

First recorded in 1600–10; distinguish + -ed2

Related forms

dis·tin·guished·ly, adverbnon·dis·tin·guished, adjectivewell-dis·tin·guished, adjective

Can be confused

distinctive distinguished

Synonym study

1. See famous.

Definition for distinguished (2 of 2)


[ dih-sting-gwish ]
/ dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to indicate or show a difference (usually followed by between).
to recognize or note differences; discriminate.

Origin of distinguish

1555–65; extension, by -ish2, of Middle English disting(u)en (< Anglo-French, Middle French distinguer) < Latin distinguere; see distinct

Related forms

Synonym study

2. Distinguish, differentiate, discriminate suggest an attempt to analyze characteristic features or qualities of things. To distinguish is to recognize the characteristic features belonging to a thing: to distinguish a light cruiser from a heavy cruiser. To discriminate is to perceive the particular, nice, or exact differences between things, to determine wherein these differences consist, and to estimate their significance: to discriminate prejudiced from unprejudiced testimony. To differentiate is to point out exactly and in detail the differences between (usually) two things: The symptoms of both diseases are so similar that it is hard to differentiate one from another.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distinguished

British Dictionary definitions for distinguished (1 of 2)


/ (dɪˈstɪŋɡwɪʃt) /


noble or dignified in appearance or behaviour
eminent; famous; celebrated

British Dictionary definitions for distinguished (2 of 2)


/ (dɪˈstɪŋɡwɪʃ) /

verb (mainly tr)

(when intr, foll by between or among) to make, show, or recognize a difference or differences (between or among); differentiate (between)
to be a distinctive feature of; characterize
to make out; perceive
to mark for a special honour or title
to make (oneself) noteworthyhe distinguished himself by his cowardice
to classify; categorizewe distinguished three species

Derived Forms

Word Origin for distinguish

C16: from Latin distinguere to separate, discriminate
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