- distinctive; characteristic, as a definitive feature of an individual or group: Intricate rhyming is a distinguishing feature of her poetry.
Origin of distinguishing
- 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 perceive clearly by sight or other sense; discern; recognize: He could not distinguish many of the words.
- to set apart as different; be a distinctive characteristic of; characterize: It is his Italian accent that distinguishes him.
- 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.
Origin of distinguish
Examples from the Web for distinguishing
She also commented on what might be her most distinguishing feature, her pierced nose.Meet Montana's Nose-Ringed Candidate for the U.S. Senate
August 15, 2014
Without commanding, distinguishing words from their mouths, the narrative can be wholly invented for Kate and Letizia.
“I have no respect for Ambassador Chizhov,” Saakashvili said, distinguishing himself from his Ukrainian colleague.Europe, Stunned by Reckless Russia, Mistrusts Feckless Ukrainian Leaders
March 24, 2014
It is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed that religious fanatics have a particularly lurid sexual imagination.Hamas: The Palestinian Fashion Police
April 9, 2013
The book starts by distinguishing the French—more sober in their fashion choices than the Italians and the English.A New Guide to Parisian Style
March 3, 2013
Then I again regretted my grandfather's too distinguishing goodness to me.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
And then a history, distinguishing the books by the names of their subjects.A Theological-Political Treatise [Part II]
Benedict of Spinoza
The distinguishing device of civilization and enlightenment.The Devil's Dictionary
I hope you don't omit the distinguishing initials when you sign your letters?The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
Exactly the same quality must be acknowledged as distinguishing the genius.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
- (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
Word Origin and History for distinguishing
1560s, from Middle French distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, or directly from Latin distinguere "to separate between, separate by pricking," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + -stinguere "to prick" (see extinguish, and cf. Latin instinguere "to incite, impel").
The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of Old French -iss-, ultimately from Latin inchoative suffix -iscere (this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish). Related: Distinguishing. The earlier form of the verb was distinguen (mid-14c.).