to mark off as different (often followed by from or by): He was distinguished from the other boys by his height.
to recognize as distinct or different; recognize the salient or individual features or characteristics of: It is hard to distinguish her from her twin sister.
to make prominent, conspicuous, or eminent: to distinguish oneself in battle.
to divide into classes; classify: Let us distinguish the various types of metaphor.
Archaic. to single out for or honor with special attention.
to indicate or show a difference (usually followed by between).
to recognize or note differences; discriminate.
- dis·tin·guish·a·ble, adjective
- dis·tin·guish·er, noun
- dis·tin·guish·ment, noun
- in·ter·dis·tin·guish, verb (used with object)
- pre·dis·tin·guish, verb (used with object)
- re·dis·tin·guish, verb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use distinguish in a sentence
Allen is training her bats to distinguish between two objects with different shapes.Here’s what bats ‘see’ when they explore the world with sound | Carolyn Wilke | October 29, 2020 | Science News For Students
This may help distinguish parts of a page that are counterintuitive for users.Microsoft Clarity, the company’s tool for visualizing user experience, is out of beta | George Nguyen | October 28, 2020 | Search Engine Land
Our bodies are coated in billions of sensory receptors registering pain, pressure, and temperature, and we have as many as 20 million olfactory receptor neurons, enabling us to distinguish between roughly a trillion different odors.The App That Offers Cosmic Awe - Facts So Romantic | Caleb Scharf | October 21, 2020 | Nautilus
Both are elongated in shape, longer than they are wide, thus distinguishing them from more rounded clams.14 wild edibles you can pull right out of the ocean | By Bob McNally/Field & Stream | October 19, 2020 | Popular-Science
The two have largely distinguished themselves by way of housing and transit policy.
Spanning more than 150 years, the exhibit exhaustively distinguishes designer pieces from licensed copies, adaptations, and fakes.
Vial distinguishes between two types of images—the innocent and the showoff, in which the performers “play” for her.
Ultimately it is liberty, of which artistic freedom is a key component, which distinguishes the Jewish State from its enemies.
He had that indefinable sixth sense that distinguishes gifted warriors from good ones.Mike Leach Tackles Geronimo the Motivational Murderer | James A. Warren | August 17, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Again, that distinguishes American political rhetoric from the rhetoric of other western nations.Sunday Q&A: Josef Joffe on the Myth of American Decline | Michael Moynihan | November 17, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Angels have a constitution which distinguishes them from man, yet with him they apprehend the authority of the one moral law.The Ordinance of Covenanting | John Cunningham
And according to Renard, Balzac distinguishes two classes of writers: the writers of ideas and the writers of images.Rhetoric and Poetry in the Renaissance | Donald Lemen Clark
This is the one prize which distinguishes America from England.As A Chinaman Saw Us | Anonymous
And it is just this difference that distinguishes the North and the South.Conflict of Northern and Southern Theories of Man and Society | Henry Ward Beecher
Mr. Leaf, with many other critics, distinguishes several successive periods of "expansion."Homer and His Age | Andrew Lang
British Dictionary definitions for distinguish
(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) noteworthy: he distinguished himself by his cowardice
to classify; categorize: we distinguished three species
- distinguishable, adjective
- distinguishably, adverb
- distinguisher, noun
- distinguishing, adjective
- distinguishingly, adverb
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