- Unlike in form, quality, amount, or nature; dissimilar: took different approaches to the problem.
- Distinct or separate: That's a different issue altogether.
- Various or assorted: interviewed different members of the community.
- Differing from all others; unusual: a different point of view.
In a different way or manner; otherwise: “Carol … didn't know different until Elinor told her” ( Ben Brantley )
Origin of different
Middle English from
Old French from
Latin differēns different- present participle of differre to differ
; see differ
Usage Note: The phrases different from and different than are both common in British and American English. The British also use the construction different to. Since the 18th century, language critics have singled out different than as incorrect when used before nouns and noun phrases, though it is well attested in the works of reputable writers. Traditionally, from is used when the comparison is between two persons or things: My book is different from [not than ] yours. Note that noun phrases, including ones that have clauses in them, also fall into this category: The campus is different from the way it was the last time you were here. The Usage Panel is divided on the acceptability of different than with nouns and noun phrases, with a majority finding several of these constructions unacceptable. In our 2004 survey, 57 percent rejected the use of different than with a gerund in the sentence Caring for children with disabilities in a regular child-care setting is not new and, in many cases, is not particularly different than caring for other children. Roughly the same percentage (55) disapproved of the construction with a noun phrase containing a clause in The new kid felt that the coach's treatment of him was different than that of the other players who were on the team last year. Some 60 percent rejected the sentence New York seemed very different than Rome, where they'd been on good terms. There should be no complaint, however, when the object of comparison is expressed by a full clause: The campus is different than it was twenty years ago.
(comparative more different, superlative most different)
- Not the same; exhibiting a difference.
- Various, assorted, diverse.
- Distinct, separate; used for emphasis after numbers and other determiners of quantity.
- Several different scientists all reached this conclusion at about the same time.
- Unlike most others; unusual.
- (not the same): Depending on dialect, time period, and register, the adjective different (“not the same”) may be construed with one of the prepositions from, to, and than, or with the subordinating conjunction than.
Of these, from is more common in formal registers than in informal ones, and more common in the US than elsewhere; than is more common in the US than elsewhere; and to is more common in the UK, in Australia, and in New Zealand than in the US. Style guides often advocate different from, by analogy with differ from rather than *differ than or *differ to, and proscribe different than and different to.
- Pleasure is different from/than/to happiness.
- It's different than (from what) I expected.
- (mathematics) The different ideal.
Origin See also: différent
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin differēns, present active participle of differō (“I differ”); see differ.