Origin of Distinguish
From Middle English distingwen, from Old French distinguer, from Latin distinguere (“to separate, divide, distinguish, set off, adorn, literally mark off”), from di- for dis- (“apart”) + stinguere; see sting, stigma, style. Compare extinguish.
Alteration of obsolete distingue from Middle English distinguen from Old French distinguer from Latin distinguere to separate steig- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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