Dis·tin·guish v. t. [imp. & p. p. Distinguished p. pr. & vb. n. Distinguishing.]
1. Not set apart from others by visible marks; to make distinctive or discernible by exhibiting differences; to mark off by some characteristic.
Not more distinguished by her purple vest,
Than by the charming features of her face. --Dryden.
Milton has distinguished the sweetbrier and the eglantine. --Nares.
2. To separate by definition of terms or logical division of a subject with regard to difference; as, to distinguish sounds into high and low.
Moses distinguished the causes of the flood into those that belong to the heavens, and those that belong to the earth. --T. Burnet.
3. To recognize or discern by marks, signs, or characteristic quality or qualities; to know and discriminate (anything) from other things with which it might be confounded; as, to distinguish the sound of a drum.
We are enabled to distinguish good from evil, as well as truth from falsehood. --Watts.
Nor more can you distinguish of a man,
Than of his outward show. --Shak.
4. To constitute a difference; to make to differ.
Who distinguisheth thee? --1 Cor. iv. 7. (Douay version).
5. To separate from others by a mark of honor; to make eminent or known; to confer distinction upon; -- with by or for.“To distinguish themselves by means never tried before.”
Syn: -- To mark; discriminate; differentiate; characterize; discern; perceive; signalize; honor; glorify.
Dis·tin·guish, v. i.
1. To make distinctions; to perceive the difference; to exercise discrimination; -- with between; as, a judge distinguishes between cases apparently similar, but differing in principle.
2. To become distinguished or distinctive; to make one's self or itself discernible. [R.]
The little embryo . . . first distinguishes into a little knot. --Jer. Taylor.
v 1: mark as different; "We distinguish several kinds of maple"
[syn: separate, differentiate, secern, secernate,
severalize, severalise, tell, tell apart]
2: detect with the senses; "The fleeing convicts were picked
out of the darkness by the watchful prison guards"; "I
can't make out the faces in this photograph" [syn: recognize,
recognise, discern, pick out, make out, tell
3: be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait; sometimes in
a very positive sense; "His modesty distinguishes him form
his peers" [syn: mark, differentiate]
4: make conspicuous or noteworthy [syn: signalize, signalise]
5: identify as in botany or biology, for example [syn: identify,
discover, key, key out, describe, name]