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distinguish Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. verb mark as different
    secernate; severalise; separate; severalize; tell apart; differentiate; tell; secern.
    • We distinguish several kinds of maple
  2. verb detect with the senses
    recognize; spot; make out; tell apart; recognise; pick out; discern.
    • The fleeing convicts were picked out of the darkness by the watchful prison guards
    • I can't make out the faces in this photograph
  3. verb be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in a very positive sense
    differentiate; mark.
    • His modesty distinguishes him from his peers
  4. verb make conspicuous or noteworthy
    signalise; signalize.
  5. verb identify as in botany or biology, for example
    name; describe; discover; identify; key; key out.
WordNet

Dis*tin"guish transitive verb
Etymology
F. distinguer, L. distinguere, distinctum; di- = dis- + stinguere to quench, extinguish; prob. orig., to prick, and so akin to G. stechen, E. stick, and perh. sting. Cf. Extinguish.
Wordforms
imperfect & past participle Distinguished ; present participle & verbal noun Distinguishing
Definitions
  1. Not set apart from others by visible marks; to make distinctive or discernible by exhibiting differences; to mark off by some characteristic.
    Not more distinguished by her purple vest, Than by the charming features of her face. Dryden.
    Milton has distinguished the sweetbrier and the eglantine. Nares.
  2. To separate by definition of terms or logical division of a subject with regard to difference; as, to distinguish sounds into high and low.
    Moses distinguished the causes of the flood into those that belong to the heavens, and those that belong to the earth. T. Burnet.
  3. To recognize or discern by marks, signs, or characteristic quality or qualities; to know and discriminate (anything) from other things with which it might be confounded; as, to distinguish the sound of a drum.
    We are enabled to distinguish good from evil, as well as truth from falsehood. Watts.
    Nor more can you distinguish of a man, Than of his outward show. Shak.
  4. To constitute a difference; to make to differ.
    Who distinguisheth thee? 1 Cor. iv. 7. (Douay version).
  5. To separate from others by a mark of honor; to make eminent or known; to confer distinction upon; -- with by or for."To distinguish themselves by means never tried before." Johnson. Syn. -- To mark; discriminate; differentiate; characterize; discern; perceive; signalize; honor; glorify.
Dis*tin"guish intransitive verb
Definitions
  1. To make distinctions; to perceive the difference; to exercise discrimination; -- with between; as, a judge distinguishes between cases apparently similar, but differing in principle.
  2. To become distinguished or distinctive; to make one's self or itself discernible. R.
    The little embryo . . . first distinguishes into a little knot. Jer. Taylor.

Webster 1913


"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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