Definition of difference in English:



  • 1A point or way in which people or things are dissimilar.

    ‘the differences between men and women’
    • ‘Differences between the two industries in their business organisation were mirrored by differences in labour relations.’
    • ‘The artist ventures to expose the inherent differences in the equation between the strong and the weak, and in the process makes no secret of his bias for the underdog.’
    • ‘Differences in society, differences in religious belief and identity are not necessarily a bad thing.’
    • ‘One other positive difference from two weeks ago is that the police will have better forensic evidence which they can use.’
    • ‘Therefore differences between the experiments could be attributed to differences in genetic background of the species that are not shared.’
    • ‘But there was one crucial difference from all the other appeals I'd received.’
    • ‘The cognitive differences in turn stem from biological differences between males and females.’
    • ‘‘One difference from last season is that we have a greater aerial threat,’ he says.’
    • ‘Another marked difference from the past is the attitude towards marriage.’
    • ‘The differences in circumstances of states within the groups of developed and developing states are in many ways as great as the differences between these groups.’
    • ‘We will operate within it, of course, but anyone who watches us won't notice any difference from what we were doing this time last year.’
    • ‘The first major difference from a billiard table is that one end is rounded instead of square.’
    • ‘Once we start to look at the differences between ourselves and chimps it'll undoubtedly be the differences in these control sequences we'll be interested in.’
    • ‘The differences between them arise as a result of the differences in strength and density of oceanic and continental lithosphere.’
    • ‘I love all the differences between people in different parts of the country.’
    • ‘There are socio-economic differences between the generations of my family.’
    • ‘These differences between the two inbred lines may reflect differences in their origin.’
    • ‘The most noticeable difference from last time was the lack of the big windows.’
    • ‘The differences between the present study and prior work likely represent differences in patient selection.’
    • ‘Structural differences between the various drugs account for the differences in the potential side effects.’
    dissimilarity, contrast, distinction, distinctness, differentiation
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The state or condition of being dissimilar.
      ‘their difference from one another’
      • ‘As someone who has lived in both, I can assure you that there is a world of difference between the two conditions.’
      • ‘There is a world of difference from succeeding in South Africa to competing in Bangladesh.’
      • ‘But for the boy, a transformation has to be achieved to an awareness of an identity based on difference from the mother.’
      • ‘Tactics books are readily available, and in many instances there isn't a lot of difference from one to the next.’
      • ‘It's a world of difference from last year, when I could only hope to turn a few heads.’
      • ‘Judging by my experience of American culinary habits, they will notice no difference from home cooking.’
      • ‘The ugly body is thus a body whose difference from the normal body is turned into deviance.’
      • ‘An election is coming and this is beginning to look like the issue the incumbents can use to show their difference from the opposition.’
      • ‘I had never driven a 4X4 before but you don't notice any difference from a normal car except for the height.’
      • ‘We retreat into our irony cages when we feel threatened by our difference from other people.’
      • ‘Even more importantly, the new government's policies so far show little difference from those of the old.’
      • ‘Certainly, you can think that there is no difference from other sports when you refer to the rules of the game.’
      • ‘Disgust for both Jews and women become for such men a way of asserting their own difference from mere mortal beings.’
      • ‘The music is an odd blend of soft feminine jazzy folk-rock, with little difference from song to song.’
      • ‘The attractive power of the church of God lies in its distinctiveness and difference from the world.’
      • ‘Well, in point of fact, there's very little difference from its ideological stance.’
      • ‘The question then becomes: how can we free difference from these normative connotations?’
      • ‘There is in America a sense of distance from other nations, and of difference from them, which has been long remarked and debated.’
      • ‘In truth I could not notice much difference from my seat near the front.’
      • ‘A quick click on my archives, and I find that there's not much difference from last Christmas.’
    2. 1.2A quantity by which amounts differ; the remainder left after subtraction of one value from another.
      ‘the insurance company will pay the difference’
      • ‘He was paid a settlement of salary difference from last April to November on top of three months' salary in lieu of notice.’
      • ‘The index of divergence is expressed in the sum of the absolute value of the differences for all industries.’
      • ‘The clinical relevance of weighted mean differences and P values, however, is not obvious.’
      • ‘However, the 9 percent difference in speed has remained constant over the years.’
      • ‘Or alternatively, will the difference in real value and actual rental paid be deducted from his salary?’
      • ‘He notices that It looks like the differences seem to be ‘copying’ the Fibonacci series in the tens and in the units columns.’
      • ‘Simple arithmetic will yield the difference between these two amounts.’
      • ‘Each matrix was constructed by subtracting the differences in values between populations.’
      • ‘Whenever differences are observed, values are tabulated separately for contact lipids.’
      • ‘However, the values of energy differences are overestimated.’
      • ‘It is claimed that there remains a substantial difference between that sum and the full amount of the loss.’
      • ‘The difference in wages remained constant, not increasing over time.’
      • ‘The gap, when taken over the full five years would amount to a total difference of about 7.7%.’
      • ‘For each pixel, find the difference in intensity between each of its neighbors, then sum the absolute value of those differences.’
      • ‘The difference between the expected value and the certainty equivalent is the risk premium for the gamble.’
      • ‘All of the previously observed statistical differences remained when the data were corrected for percentage activation.’
      • ‘If the antecedent is more true than the consequent, then the conditional is less than the maximal truth by the difference between their values.’
      • ‘The difference of the total amount which is K67 million is what the community has given in terms of labour and materials.’
      • ‘The Department of Labour examined data from 2001 when the pay difference was 40 percent.’
      • ‘Quantitatively, the dollar amount differences are shown in Table 4.’
      balance, outstanding amount, remaining amount, remainder, rest, residue, excess, extra
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    3. 1.3Heraldry An alteration in a coat of arms to distinguish members or branches of a family.
      • ‘Secondly, it assumes coat armour to be hereditary in the male lines of a family, with differences to distinguish cadet branches.’
  • 2A disagreement, quarrel, or dispute.

    ‘the couple are patching up their differences’
    • ‘Ending three decades of enmity, the two visionaries shelved Cold War differences to unite against a growing Soviet threat.’
    • ‘The battles between the British kids and their Gibraltarian counterparts of Spanish ethnic origin had nothing to do with political differences over the war, he says.’
    • ‘Family quarrels and personal differences, too, often have a hefty measure of the same thing.’
    • ‘They've patched up their differences now though, meeting in Brisbane today.’
    • ‘Governments are often beset by internal divisions and dispute, but such differences have traditionally been over politics or policy.’
    • ‘Let's keep the psychology and rhetoric of argument in mind while we debate our differences.’
    • ‘They seem to have patched up their differences, now, though.’
    • ‘In a voluntary society like the church we rely heavily on the ties that bind us together as the body of Christ as a way of resolving our differences and disputes.’
    • ‘The Army and the Navy were not able to solve their differences during World War II.’
    • ‘Even if the two of them patch up their differences for public consumption, they have surely gone past the point of no return.’
    • ‘Do you ever find yourselves playing out other differences or disagreements you may have with each other through the football difference between you?’
    • ‘We can imagine a private quarrel between two people or two groups whose differences are based upon misunderstandings.’
    • ‘No doubt, these differences will be patched up, and then, perhaps in a year's time, we the Irish people will be asked to vote on this Constitution.’
    • ‘They just seem to be able to deal with differences and disagreements in ways that don't interfere with getting the job done.’
    • ‘The couple have been together seven years and married in October last year after patching up their differences.’
    • ‘All disputes or differences arising out of this contract which cannot be amicably resolved shall be referred to arbitration in London.’
    • ‘It puts the House and the Senate in sharp conflict over the issue of immigration and sets up a fierce battle over resolving their differences.’
    • ‘Naturally, we will have our differences and our disputes, but we must be especially wary of the tendency to cast them in terms of a fictitious religious strife.’
    • ‘Another disagreement is on the more obvious public level: regional disagreements and differences over ancestral origin.’
    • ‘He goes on to list disagreements and differences of opinion among priests on all these topics.’
    disagreement, difference of opinion, misunderstanding, dispute, disputation, argument, debate, quarrel, wrangle, altercation, contretemps, clash, controversy, dissension
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  • Alter (a coat of arms) to distinguish members or branches of a family.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin differentia (see differentia).