Meaning of DIFFERENCE in English

I. ˈdifərn(t)s, -f(ə)rən-, -R sometimes -fən- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin differentia, from different-, differens + -ia


a. : the quality or state of being different

great difference between the two ideas

b. : an instance of differing in nature, form, or quality

differences in the manufacturing process result in a wide variety of flavors

: a property or characteristic in which things or persons differ

differences in color and texture between the two fabrics

c. archaic : a characteristic that distinguishes one person or thing from another or from the general

an absolute gentleman full of the most excellent differences — Shakespeare

d. : differentia 1

e. : the element or factor that separates or distinguishes two contrasting situations or events

water is the difference between profit and loss to these farmers

2. : distinction or discrimination in preference or choice

the law should make no difference between the rich and the poor

3. : disagreement in opinion : dissension , controversy

there has never been any difference between the two men

: an instance of disagreement or a point upon which there is disagreement

nationalists have always used force to settle their differences — H.S.Fowler


a. : the degree or amount by which things differ in quantity or measure

10 cents difference in price

specifically : the result obtained by subtracting one magnitude, number, or function from another of the same kind

b. : the amount payable to or by a seller on the occasion of the sale of securities or commodities originally purchased by him as a speculation without intention to take physical possession and representing the change in price

c. : the amount paid or allowed for the delivery of a quality of produce better or poorer than that on which the contract price is based

5. : an addition to or change in a coat of arms to distinguish the bearings of two persons which would otherwise be the same — compare augmentation 6, cadency mark

6. : a significant change in a situation : a significant effect on a situation

what's the difference whether I go or not

streamlining did not make much difference

Synonyms: see dissimilarity

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English differencen, from difference, n.


a. : to make different : differentiate or distinguish in nature or character

every individual has something that differences it from another — John Locke

b. : to make a distinction between (as in the mind) : discriminate , differentiate

difference gods from men — George Chapman

2. : to make a heraldic difference in (a coat of arms)

III. transitive verb

: to compute the difference between

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.