Distinguish or discriminate. This phrase appears in the Bible (Leviticus 11:47): “To make a difference between the unclean and the clean.” [ Late 1500s ]
Also, make the difference. Cause a change in effect, change the nature of something, as in His score on this test will make the difference between passing and failing, or These curtains sure make a difference in the lighting.
Be important, matter, as in Her volunteer work made a difference in many lives. The antonym of this usage is make no difference, as in It makes no difference to me if we go immediately or in an hour. This usage appeared long ago in slightly different versions. Miles Coverdale’s translation of the Bible of 1535 had it is no difference, and the converse, it makes great difference, was first recorded about 1470.
- Make advances
1. Attempt to make someone’s acquaintance or make overtures, as in The ambassador knew that the ministers would soon make advances to him. [ Late 1600s ] 2. Approach amorously or sexually, as in His wife accused him of making advances to the nanny. [ c. 1700 ] Also see: make a pass at
- Make a federal case out of something
verb phrase To overemphasize the importance of something; exaggerate or overreact; blow up: I merely bought a new car, so don’t try to make a Federal case out of it [1950s+; popularized after being spoken by a judge in the 1959 movie Anatomy of a Murder]
- Make a fool of
Also, make an ass or monkey out of. Cause someone or oneself to look foolish or stupid. For example, John doesn’t mind making a fool of himself at parties, or They made an ass of me by giving me the wrong instructions, or Just watch him make a monkey out of this amateur chess player. […]
- Make a fortune
Also, make a small fortune. Earn a great deal of money, as in He made a fortune on the stock market. Similar expressions are be worth a fortune or small fortune, as in Now that their parents have died, they’re worth a small fortune. Make a fortune dates from about 1700, and its use with […]