Definition of difference in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdif(ə)rəns/


1A point or way in which people or things are not the same: the differences between men and women
More example sentences
  • Structural differences between the various drugs account for the differences in the potential side effects.
  • The differences between the present study and prior work likely represent differences in patient selection.
  • Therefore differences between the experiments could be attributed to differences in genetic background of the species that are not shared.
dissimilarity, contrast, distinction, differentiation, variance, variation, divergence, disparity, deviation, polarity, gulf, gap, imbalance, contradiction, contradistinction
1.1The state or condition of being dissimilar or unlike: their difference from one another
More example sentences
  • There is in America a sense of distance from other nations, and of difference from them, which has been long remarked and debated.
  • The question then becomes: how can we free difference from these normative connotations?
  • A quick click on my archives, and I find that there's not much difference from last Christmas.
1.2A disagreement, quarrel, or dispute: the couple are patching up their differences
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Governments are often beset by internal divisions and dispute, but such differences have traditionally been over politics or policy.
  • 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.
disagreement, difference of opinion, dispute, argument, quarrel, wrangle, contretemps, altercation
informal tiff, set-to, run-in, spat, row
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
More example sentences
  • 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 between the expected value and the certainty equivalent is the risk premium for the gamble.
  • It is claimed that there remains a substantial difference between that sum and the full amount of the loss.
balance, remainder, rest, remaining amount, residue
1.4 Heraldry An alteration in a coat of arms to distinguish members or branches of a family.
Example sentences
  • Secondly, it assumes coat armour to be hereditary in the male lines of a family, with differences to distinguish cadet branches.


[with object] Heraldry
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
More example sentences
  • It simply makes no difference how well the situation there goes over the next year.
  • The awareness campaigns have made a difference but the situation is far from ideal.
  • It will make no difference to the situation we find ourselves in.

with a difference

Having a new or unusual feature or treatment: a fashion show with a difference
More example sentences
  • I believe the next exhibition will feature kids art presented with a difference.
  • This is fun fashion with a difference, with categories on cartoon characters.
  • It's a fashion parade with a difference, where the garments are everyday psychoses.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dif·fer·ence

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