- The definition of distinguish is to recognize differences, or to be identified as a characteristic of something, or to earn a position of status or high esteem.
- When you can tell the difference between white and yellow, this is an example of when you distinguish.
- When a person is given the title Teacher of the Year, this is an example of when you honor or distinguish someone.
distinguish definition by Webster's New World
- to separate or mark off by differences; perceive or show the difference in; differentiate
- to be an essential characteristic of; characterize
- to perceive clearly; recognize plainly by any of the senses
- to separate and classify
- to make famous or eminent; give distinction to: to distinguish oneself in battle
Origin: ; from Classical Latin distinguere, to separate, discriminate ; from dis-, apart plush -stinguere, to prick ; from Indo-European base an unverified form steig-, to prick, pierce (from source stick, German sticken, to embroider, Classical Greek stigma) plush -ish, sense
distinguish definition by American Heritage Dictionary
verb dis·tin·guished, dis·tin·guish·ing, dis·tin·guish·es verb, transitive
- To perceive as being different or distinct.
- To perceive distinctly; discern: distinguished the masts of ships on the horizon.
- To make noticeable or different; set apart.
- To cause (oneself) to be eminent or recognized: They have distinguished themselves as dedicated social workers.
Origin: Alteration of obsolete distingue, from Middle English distinguen, from Old French distinguer, from Latin distinguere, to separate; see steig- in Indo-European roots.
- dis·tinˈguish·a·ble adjective
- dis·tinˈguish·a·bly adverb
distinguish - Legal Definition