Distinguish Dis*tin"guish, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Distinguished}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Distinguishing}.] [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}.] 1. Not set apart from others by visible marks; to make distinctive or discernible by exhibiting differences; to mark off by some characteristic. [1913 Webster]

Not more distinguished by her purple vest, Than by the charming features of her face. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

Milton has distinguished the sweetbrier and the eglantine. --Nares. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Moses distinguished the causes of the flood into those that belong to the heavens, and those that belong to the earth. --T. Burnet. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

We are enabled to distinguish good from evil, as well as truth from falsehood. --Watts. [1913 Webster]

Nor more can you distinguish of a man, Than of his outward show. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. To constitute a difference; to make to differ. [1913 Webster]

Who distinguisheth thee? --1 Cor. iv. 7. (Douay version). [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • distinguish — dis·tin·guish vt: to identify or explain differences in or from distinguish ed the cases on factual grounds Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. distinguish …   Law dictionary

  • distinguish — 1 Distinguish, differentiate, discriminate, demarcate are synonymous when they mean to point out or mark the differences between things that are or seem to be much alike or closely related. Distinguish presupposes sources of confusion; the things …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • distinguish — [di stiŋ′gwish] vt. [< L distinguere, to separate, discriminate < dis , apart + stinguere, to prick < IE base * steig , to prick, pierce (> STICK, Ger sticken, to embroider, Gr stigma) + ISH, sense 2] 1. to separate or mark off by… …   English World dictionary

  • distinguish — [v1] tell the difference analyze, ascertain, categorize, characterize, classify, collate, decide, demarcate, determinate, determine, diagnose, diagnosticate, differentiate, discriminate, divide, estimate, extricate, figure out, finger*, identify …   New thesaurus

  • distinguish — ► VERB 1) recognize, show, or treat as different. 2) manage to discern (something barely perceptible). 3) be an identifying characteristic of. 4) (distinguish oneself) make oneself worthy of respect. DERIVATIVES distinguishable adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • Distinguish — Dis*tin guish, v. i. 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. [1913 Webster] 2. To become distinguished… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distinguish — 1560s, from M.Fr. distinguiss , stem of distinguer, or directly from L. distinguere to separate between, separate by pricking, from dis apart (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + stinguere to prick (see EXTINGUISH (Cf. extinguish), and Cf. L. instinguere …   Etymology dictionary

  • distinguish */*/*/ — UK [dɪˈstɪŋɡwɪʃ] / US verb Word forms distinguish : present tense I/you/we/they distinguish he/she/it distinguishes present participle distinguishing past tense distinguished past participle distinguished 1) [intransitive/transitive] to recognize …   English dictionary

  • distinguish — dis|tin|guish [ dı stıŋgwıʃ ] verb *** 1. ) intransitive or transitive to recognize the differences between things: DIFFERENTIATE: He learned to distinguish a great variety of birds, animals, and plants. distinguish between: They concluded that… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • distinguish — 01. Children under the age of 4 cannot always [distinguish] between the truth and a lie. 02. Witnesses to the crime said the suspect had no [distinguishing] features. 03. The Beatles [distinguished] themselves as perhaps the most important… …   Grammatical examples in English

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