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contra- +‎ distinction


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌkɒntɹədɪˈstɪŋkʃn̩/
  • Hyphenation: con‧tra‧dis‧tinc‧tion


contradistinction (plural contradistinctions)

  1. Distinction by contrast; the provision of one example against which another example may be defined.
    We used hamburgers and soda in contradistinction to healthy food.
    • 1911: Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
      Pantheism n
      The doctrine that everything is God, in contradistinction to the doctrine that God is everything.
    • 1961 October, “The winter timetables of British Railways: Western Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 591:
      It will be noted that on this service, in contradistinction to that from and to Bristol, extra trains are provided to cope with peak-hour conditions; [...].
  2. The quality of being contradistinctive.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Found normally in the phrase in contradistinction to, contradistinction focuses on the contrasting attributes of two similar concepts and may be more emphatic than distinction.

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