1. A marking off by visible signs; separation into parts; division. "The distinction of tragedy into acts was not known." (Dryden)

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." (Dryden)

5. Conspicuous station; eminence; superiority; honorable estimation; as, a man of distinction. "Your country's own means of distinction and defense." (D. Webster)

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

Origin: L. Distinctio: cf. F. Distinction.

(01 Mar 1998)

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