difference

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: différence

English[edit]

Wikipedia-logo.png
 difference on Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English difference, from Old French difference, from Latin differentia (difference), from differēns (different), present participle of differre. Doublet of differentia.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈdɪfɹən(t)s/
  • (rare) IPA(key): /ˈdɪfəɹən(t)s/
  • Hyphenation: diffe‧rence, dif‧fer‧ence
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

difference (countable and uncountable, plural differences)

  1. (uncountable) The quality of being different.
    You need to learn to be more tolerant of difference.
    Antonyms: identity, sameness
  2. (countable) A characteristic of something that makes it different from something else.
    • 2013 June 1, “Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8838, page 11:
      But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
    There are three differences between these two pictures.
  3. (countable) A disagreement or argument.
    We have our little differences, but we are firm friends.
    • 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene v]:
      What was the difference? It was a contention in public.
    • (Can we date this quote by T. Ellwood and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Away therefore went I with the constable, leaving the old warden and the young constable to compose their difference as they could.
  4. (countable, uncountable) Significant change in or effect on a situation or state.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
      The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At last, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings; and once more they began to see surfaces—meadows wide-spread, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous.
    • 1967, Barbara Sleigh, Jessamy, 1993 edition, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, →ISBN, page 105:
      As she did so Fanny put down her book , stood up and stretched her arms, and at once Jessamy noticed a difference. It was the same Fanny but not the Fanny who climbed trees and tore her frock playing in the garden. It was as though a young lady film had settled over her, neatening her unruly hair, which was tied back with a large black bow, and primly composing her small mouth.
    It just won't make much difference to me.
    It just won't make much of a difference to anyone.
  5. (countable) The result of a subtraction; sometimes the absolute value of this result.
    The difference between 3 and 21 is 18.
  6. (obsolete) Choice; preference.
  7. (heraldry) An addition to a coat of arms to distinguish two people's bearings which would otherwise be the same. See augmentation and cadency.
  8. (logic) The quality or attribute which is added to those of the genus to constitute a species; a differentia.
  9. (logic circuits) A Boolean operation which is TRUE when the two input variables are different but is otherwise FALSE; the XOR operation ().
  10. (relational algebra) the set of elements that are in one set but not another ().

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

difference (third-person singular simple present differences, present participle differencing, simple past and past participle differenced)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To distinguish or differentiate.
    • (Can we date this quote by Harvey and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      This simple spectation of the lungs is differenced from that which concomitates a pleurisy.
    (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought):

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French difference, from Latin differēntia; equivalent to differren (to postpone) +‎ -ence.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈdifɛrɛns(ə)/, /diˈfɛrɛns(ə)/

Noun[edit]

difference (plural differences or difference)

  1. Difference; the state of being different.
  2. A difference; an element which separates.
  3. Distinguishment; the finding or creation of dissimilarity.
  4. (heraldry, rare) A heraldic cadency for a family's junior branch.
  5. (mathematics, rare) The result of subtraction; an amount left over.
  6. (mathematics, rare) An order in decimal representation of numbers.
  7. (rare) Something that people do not agree upon.

Descendants[edit]

  • English: difference
  • Scots: difference

References[edit]


Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin differentia.

Noun[edit]

difference f (oblique plural differences, nominative singular difference, nominative plural differences)

  1. difference

Descendants[edit]