distinguish


distinguish
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 considered may or may not be alike, but if not alike, they are so closely connected, so indissolubly related, so open to misunderstanding that the differences must be noted or marked out if confusion is to be eradicated; hence, maturity of intellect or of judgment is implicit in the power to distinguish
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a child under four will hardly distinguish between yesterday and a week ago, or between yesterday and six hours ago— Russell

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the aesthetic and ethical spheres, in fact, were never sharply distinguished by the Greeks— Dickinson

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Differentiate implies either the possession of a distinguishing character or characters, or more commonly capacity to ascertain differences between things susceptible of con-fusion
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we find in Chinese art a strong synthetic power, which differentiates it and lifts it beyond the art of Persia and the art of India— Binyon

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if poetry is art, it must produce its effects through a medium which differentiates it, without divorcing it, from reality— Lowes

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we must have classes small enough to enable the teacher to differentiate the strong and the willing from the sluggards— Grandgent

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Discriminate involves the idea of perception; it implies the power to perceive or discern differences, often slight differences, between things that are very much alike
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discriminate synonyms

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irritated by the wasp's inability to discriminate a house from a tree— E. K. Brown

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whenever you have learned to discriminate the birds, or the plants, or the geological features of a country, it is as if new and keener eyes were added— Burroughs

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to discriminate between true and false Aristotelianism— Babbitt

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Demarcate implies the setting of literal limits or the marking of literal boundaries, but it can be freely used to suggest a distinguishing between things as clear as if there were lines between them
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how shall we demarcate Reproduction from Growth?— Lewes

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only in periods when a common idea of style pervades the whole production of a people does . . . the work of the craftsman merge, with no demarcating difference, in the art which expresses thought and emotion— Binyon

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Analogous words: *separate, part, divide: *detach, disengage
Antonyms: confound
Contrasted words: confuse, *mistake
2 *characterize, mark, qualify
Analogous words: individualize, peculiarize (see corresponding adjectives at CHARACTERISTIC)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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 — 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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