Definition of distinction noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈstɪŋkʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈstɪŋkʃn//
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  1. 1[countable] distinction (between A and B) a clear difference or contrast especially between people or things that are similar or related distinctions between traditional and modern societies Philosophers did not use to make a distinction between arts and science. We need to draw a distinction between the two events.
  2. 2[uncountable] the quality of being excellent or important a writer of distinction
  3. 3[singular] the quality of being something that is special She had the distinction of being the first woman to fly the Atlantic.
  4. 4[uncountable] distinction (between A and B) the separation of people or things into different groups The new law makes no distinction between adults and children (= treats them equally). All groups are entitled to this money without distinction.
  5. 5[countable, uncountable] a special mark/grade or award that is given to somebody, especially a student, for excellent work Naomi got a distinction in maths. He graduated with distinction.
  6. Word Origin Middle English (in the sense ‘subdivision, category’): via Old French from Latin distinctio(n-), from the verb distinguere, from dis- ‘apart’ + stinguere ‘put out’.Extra examples Cultural distinctions lie at the heart of these issues. Election to the NAE is an indication of professional distinction. Fennel leaves add distinction to any dish. He graduated with distinction. He has the dubious distinction of being the first railway baron to go bankrupt. He has the dubious distinction of being the world’s most famous gangster. He served with distinction in the First World War. Is there always an absolute distinction between right and wrong? It was a subtle distinction but a very important one. New York does not have the nation’s oldest subway system; that distinction belongs to Boston. No legal distinction existed between cities and other corporations. She achieved distinction in several fields of scholarship. She draws an important distinction between the different kinds of illness. She is a historian of great distinction. The distinction between amateur and professional players is being blurred. We can see a sharp distinction between ambition and greed. Wearing the county tie was a mark of modest social distinction. a society without distinctions of class and privilege making invidious distinctions between the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’ poor the conventional distinction between pure and applied science Philosophers did not make a distinction between arts and science. She tends to blur the distinctions between family and friends. The cast performed with some distinction. Though they fought with distinction, they suffered heavy casualties. We need to draw a distinction between democratic socialism and social democracy.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: distinction