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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Distinction


DISTINCTION, noun [Latin]

1. The act of separating or distinguishing.

2. A note or mark of difference. [Seldom used.]

3. Difference made; a separation or disagreement in kind or qualities, by which one thing is known from another. We observe a distinction between matter and spirit; a distinction between matter and spirit; a distinction between the animal and vegetable kingdoms; a distinction between good and evil, right and wrong; between sound reasoning and sophistry.

4. Difference regarded; separation; preference; as in the phrase, without distinction which denotes promiscuously, all together, alike.

Maids, women, wives, without distinction fall.

5. Separation; division; as the distinction of tragedy into acts.

[In this sense, division would be preferable.]

6. Notation of difference; discrimination; as a distinction between real and apparent good.

In classing the qualities of actions, it is necessary to make accurate distinctions.

7. Eminence; superiority; elevation of rank in society, or elevation of character; honorable estimation. Men who hold a high rank by birth or office, and men who are eminent fro their talents, services or worth, are called men of distinction as being raised above others by positive institutions or by reputation. So we say, a man of note.

8. That which confers eminence or superiority; office, rank or public favor.

9. Discernment; judgment.