Definition of difference in English:



  • 1A point or way in which people or things are not the same.

    ‘the differences between men and women’
    • ‘The most noticeable difference from last time was the lack of the big windows.’
    • ‘There are socio-economic differences between the generations of my family.’
    • ‘One other positive difference from two weeks ago is that the police will have better forensic evidence which they can use.’
    • ‘Differences in society, differences in religious belief and identity are not necessarily a bad thing.’
    • ‘The first major difference from a billiard table is that one end is rounded instead of square.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These differences between the two inbred lines may reflect differences in their origin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Structural differences between the various drugs account for the differences in the potential side effects.’
    • ‘I love all the differences between people in different parts of the country.’
    • ‘Another marked difference from the past is the attitude towards marriage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘One difference from last season is that we have a greater aerial threat,’ he says.’
    • ‘Differences between the two industries in their business organisation were mirrored by differences in labour relations.’
    • ‘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 cognitive differences in turn stem from biological differences between males and females.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The differences between the present study and prior work likely represent differences in patient selection.’
    • ‘The differences between them arise as a result of the differences in strength and density of oceanic and continental lithosphere.’
    dissimilarity, contrast, distinction, distinctness, differentiation
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    1. 1.1The state or condition of being dissimilar or unlike.
      ‘their difference from one another’
      • ‘Certainly, you can think that there is no difference from other sports when you refer to the rules of the game.’
      • ‘The ugly body is thus a body whose difference from the normal body is turned into deviance.’
      • ‘There is a world of difference from succeeding in South Africa to competing in Bangladesh.’
      • ‘There is in America a sense of distance from other nations, and of difference from them, which has been long remarked and debated.’
      • ‘The attractive power of the church of God lies in its distinctiveness and difference from the world.’
      • ‘We retreat into our irony cages when we feel threatened by our difference from other people.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Tactics books are readily available, and in many instances there isn't a lot of difference from one to the next.’
      • ‘Disgust for both Jews and women become for such men a way of asserting their own difference from mere mortal beings.’
      • ‘I had never driven a 4X4 before but you don't notice any difference from a normal car except for the height.’
      • ‘But for the boy, a transformation has to be achieved to an awareness of an identity based on difference from the mother.’
      • ‘It's a world of difference from last year, when I could only hope to turn a few heads.’
      • ‘An election is coming and this is beginning to look like the issue the incumbents can use to show their difference from the opposition.’
      • ‘The music is an odd blend of soft feminine jazzy folk-rock, with little difference from song to song.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Judging by my experience of American culinary habits, they will notice no difference from home cooking.’
      • ‘As someone who has lived in both, I can assure you that there is a world of difference between the two conditions.’
      • ‘Even more importantly, the new government's policies so far show little difference from those of the old.’
    2. 1.2A disagreement, quarrel, or dispute.
      ‘the couple are patching up their differences’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We can imagine a private quarrel between two people or two groups whose differences are based upon misunderstandings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They've patched up their differences now though, meeting in Brisbane today.’
      • ‘Ending three decades of enmity, the two visionaries shelved Cold War differences to unite against a growing Soviet threat.’
      • ‘Family quarrels and personal differences, too, often have a hefty measure of the same thing.’
      • ‘Governments are often beset by internal divisions and dispute, but such differences have traditionally been over politics or policy.’
      • ‘The Army and the Navy were not able to solve their differences during World War II.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All disputes or differences arising out of this contract which cannot be amicably resolved shall be referred to arbitration in London.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even if the two of them patch up their differences for public consumption, they have surely gone past the point of no return.’
      • ‘He goes on to list disagreements and differences of opinion among priests on all these topics.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do you ever find yourselves playing out other differences or disagreements you may have with each other through the football difference between you?’
      • ‘Another disagreement is on the more obvious public level: regional disagreements and differences over ancestral origin.’
      disagreement, difference of opinion, misunderstanding, dispute, disputation, argument, debate, quarrel, wrangle, altercation, contretemps, clash, controversy, dissension
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    3. 1.3A quantity by which amounts differ; the remainder left after subtraction of one value from another.
      ‘the gross margin is the difference between the total cost of the goods and the final selling price’
      • ‘Or alternatively, will the difference in real value and actual rental paid be deducted from his salary?’
      • ‘Quantitatively, the dollar amount differences are shown in Table 4.’
      • ‘However, the values of energy differences are overestimated.’
      • ‘All of the previously observed statistical differences remained when the data were corrected for percentage activation.’
      • ‘The Department of Labour examined data from 2001 when the pay difference was 40 percent.’
      • ‘The clinical relevance of weighted mean differences and P values, however, is not obvious.’
      • ‘Whenever differences are observed, values are tabulated separately for contact lipids.’
      • ‘The difference of the total amount which is K67 million is what the community has given in terms of labour and materials.’
      • ‘The difference in wages remained constant, not increasing over time.’
      • ‘The difference between the expected value and the certainty equivalent is the risk premium for the gamble.’
      • ‘For each pixel, find the difference in intensity between each of its neighbors, then sum the absolute value of those differences.’
      • ‘He was paid a settlement of salary difference from last April to November on top of three months' salary in lieu of notice.’
      • ‘However, the 9 percent difference in speed has remained constant over the years.’
      • ‘Each matrix was constructed by subtracting the differences in values between populations.’
      • ‘He notices that It looks like the differences seem to be ‘copying’ the Fibonacci series in the tens and in the units columns.’
      • ‘It is claimed that there remains a substantial difference between that sum and the full amount of the loss.’
      • ‘If the antecedent is more true than the consequent, then the conditional is less than the maximal truth by the difference between their values.’
      • ‘Simple arithmetic will yield the difference between these two amounts.’
      • ‘The index of divergence is expressed in the sum of the absolute value of the differences for all industries.’
      • ‘The gap, when taken over the full five years would amount to a total difference of about 7.7%.’
      balance, outstanding amount, remaining amount, remainder, rest, residue, excess, extra
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Heraldry 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.’


  • Alter (a coat of arms) to distinguish members or branches of a family.


  • make a (or no) difference

    • Have a significant effect (or no effect) on a person or situation.

      ‘the law will make no difference to my business’
      • ‘It is not an executive role, but it matters because it can make a difference.’
      • ‘It will make no difference to the situation we find ourselves in.’
      • ‘So, I do not think that a different design would have significantly made a difference.’
      • ‘Even the proprietors and editors who did not want devolution to succeed can no longer claim the parliament is doing nothing or making no difference.’
      • ‘Using the entry form printed here, send us your nominations for community heroes who are making a difference.’
      • ‘The awareness campaigns have made a difference but the situation is far from ideal.’
      • ‘She paid tribute to women's groups, who were making a difference in women's lives.’
      • ‘Although the project was only officially launched last February there is already evidence that its methods are making a difference.’
      • ‘If it is not, it will unfairly brand staff as failures while making no difference to the quality of service.’
      • ‘It simply makes no difference how well the situation there goes over the next year.’
  • with a difference

    • Having a new or unusual feature or treatment.

      ‘a fashion show with a difference’
      • ‘He is back with more songs, a new outlook and a band with a difference.’
      • ‘It's a fashion parade with a difference, where the garments are everyday psychoses.’
      • ‘It's a racing game with a difference; the first to take advantage of inter-platform dependence.’
      • ‘This is fun fashion with a difference, with categories on cartoon characters.’
      • ‘Yes, this one indeed promises to be a pottery exhibition with a difference.’
      • ‘For an autumn break with a difference, head for the Faroe Islands.’
      • ‘The organisers are looking for volunteer men who will dress in drag for a Beauty Pageant with a difference.’
      • ‘Guests are always more than welcome, so if you do feel like an evening out with a difference, do come along and join us.’
      • ‘Nineteen Bolton teenagers are set for a school trip with a difference - delivering aid in Africa.’
      • ‘I believe the next exhibition will feature kids art presented with a difference.’


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