Definition of difference in English:


Line breaks: dif¦fer|ence
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪf(ə)r(ə)ns


  • 1A point or way in which people or things are dissimilar: 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.
  • 1.1 [mass noun] The state or condition of being dissimilar: 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 quantity by which amounts differ; the remainder left after subtraction of one value from another: the insurance company will pay the difference
    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, outstanding amount, remaining amount, remainder, rest, residue, excess, extra
    technical residuum
  • 1.3 Heraldry An alteration in a coat of arms to distinguish members or branches of a family.
    More 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 Back to top  
  • 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 Act 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).

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tease (someone) playfully