[dih-sting-gwish] /dɪˈstɪŋ gwɪʃ/

verb (used with object)
to mark off as different (often followed by from or by):
He was distinguished from the other boys by his height.
to recognize as or different; recognize the salient or individual features or characteristics of:
It is hard to distinguish her from her twin sister.
to perceive clearly by sight or other sense; discern; recognize:
He could not distinguish many of the words.
to set apart as different; be a characteristic of; characterize:
It is his Italian accent that distinguishes him.
to make prominent, conspicuous, or eminent:
to distinguish oneself in battle.
to divide into classes; classify:
Let us distinguish the various types of metaphor.
Archaic. to single out for or honor with special attention.
verb (used without object)
to indicate or show a difference (usually followed by between).
to recognize or note differences; discriminate.
verb (mainly transitive)
when intr, foll by between or among. to make, show, or recognize a difference or differences (between or among); differentiate (between)
to be a distinctive feature of; characterize
to make out; perceive
to mark for a special honour or title
to make (oneself) noteworthy: he distinguished himself by his cowardice
to classify; categorize: we distinguished three species

1560s, from Middle French distinguiss-, stem of distinguer, or directly from Latin distinguere “to separate between, separate by pricking,” from dis- “apart” (see dis-) + -stinguere “to prick” (see extinguish, and cf. Latin instinguere “to incite, impel”).

The suffix -ish is due to the influence of many verbs in which it is the equivalent of Old French -iss-, ultimately from Latin inchoative suffix -iscere (this is also the case in extinguish, admonish, and astonish). Related: Distinguishing. The earlier form of the verb was distinguen (mid-14c.).


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