distinguish vs signalise what difference

what is difference between distinguish and signalise



From Middle English distingwen, from Old French distinguer, from Latin distinguere (to separate, divide, distinguish, set off, adorn, literally mark off), from di-, dis- (apart) + stinguere. Compare extinguish.


  • enPR: dĭs-tĭngʹgwĭsh, IPA(key): /dɪsˈtɪŋɡwɪʃ/
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋɡwɪʃ
  • Hyphenation: dis‧tin‧guish


distinguish (third-person singular simple present distinguishes, present participle distinguishing, simple past and past participle distinguished)

  1. To recognize someone or something as different from others based on its characteristics.
    Synonyms: differentiate, discriminate; see also Thesaurus:tell apart
    Antonym: confuse
  2. To see someone or something clearly or distinctly.
  3. To make oneself noticeably different or better from others through accomplishments.
    • 1784: William Jones, The Description and Use of a New Portable Orrery, &c., PREFACE
      THE favourable reception the Orrery has met with from Perſons of the firſt diſtinction, and from Gentlemen and Ladies in general, has induced me to add to it ſeveral new improvements in order to give it a degree of Perfection; and diſtinguiſh it from others; which by Piracy, or Imitation, may be introduced to the Public.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To make to differ.

Usage notes

In sense “see a difference”, more casual than differentiate or the formal discriminate; more casual is “tell the difference”.

Derived terms

  • distinguished
  • distinguishable
  • distinguishing
  • distinguishness
  • undistinguishing

Related terms

  • distinct
  • distinction
  • extinguish


Further reading

  • distinguish in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • distinguish in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.



signalise (third-person singular simple present signalises, present participle signalising, simple past and past participle signalised)

  1. (British spelling) Alternative spelling of signalize



  • Homophones: signalisent, signalises



  1. first-person singular present indicative of signaliser
  2. third-person singular present indicative of signaliser
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of signaliser
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of signaliser
  5. second-person singular imperative of signaliser

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