Hypertext Webster Gateway: "distinction"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Distinction \Dis*tinc"tion\, n. [L. distinctio: cf. F.
1. A marking off by visible signs; separation into parts;
division. [Obs.]

The distinction of tragedy into acts was not known.

2. The act of distinguishing or denoting the differences
between objects, or the qualities by which one is known
from others; exercise of discernment; discrimination.

To take away therefore that error, which confusion
breedeth, distinction is requisite. --Hooker.

3. That which distinguishes one thing from another;
distinguishing quality; sharply defined difference; as,
the distinction between real and apparent good.

The distinction betwixt the animal kingdom and the
inferior parts of matter. --Locke.

4. Estimation of difference; regard to differences or
distinguishing circumstance.

Maids, women, wives, without distinction, fall.

5. Conspicuous station; eminence; superiority; honorable
estimation; as, a man of distinction.

Your country's own means of distinction and defense.
--D. Webster.

Syn: Difference; variation, variety; contrast; diversity;
contrariety; disagreement; discrimination; preference;
superiority; rank; note; eminence.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: a discrimination between things as different and distinct;
"it is necessary to make a distinction between love and
infatuation" [syn: {differentiation}]
2: high status importance owing to marked superiority; "a
scholar of great eminence" [syn: {eminence}, {preeminence},
3: a distinguishing quality; "it has the distinction of being
the cheapest restaurant in town"
4: a distinguishing difference: "he learned the distinction
between gold and lead"

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