AskDefine | Define distinct

Dictionary Definition

distinct adj
1 easy to perceive; especially clearly outlined; "a distinct flavor"; "a distinct odor of turpentine"; "a distinct outline"; "the ship appeared as a distinct silhouette"; "distinct fingerprints" [ant: indistinct]
2 (often followed by `from') not alike; different in nature or quality; "plants of several distinct types"; "the word `nationalism' is used in at least two distinct senses"; "gold is distinct from iron"; "a tree related to but quite distinct from the European beech"; "management had interests quite distinct from those of their employees" [syn: distinguishable]
3 constituting a separate entity or part; "a government with three discrete divisions"; "on two distinct occasions" [syn: discrete]
4 recognizable; marked; "noticed a distinct improvement"; "at a distinct (or decided) disadvantage" [syn: decided]
5 clearly or sharply defined to the mind; "clear-cut evidence of tampering"; "Claudius was the first to invade Britain with distinct...intentions of conquest"; "trenchant distinctions between right and wrong" [syn: clear-cut, trenchant]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /dɪˈstɪŋkt/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪŋkt


  1. Very clear.
    Her voice was distinct despite the heavy traffic.
  2. Different from one another.
    The letters in the word "clear" are distinct, while the letters in the word "distinct" are not.
  3. Noticeably different.
    Olga's voice is quite distinct because of her accent.



very clear
different from one another
noticeably different



  • /dis.tɛ̃/
  • SAMPA: /dis.tE~/


  1. distinct

Extensive Definition

Two or more things are distinct if no two of them are the same thing. In mathematics, two things are called distinct if they are not equal.


A quadratic equation over the complex numbers always has two roots.
The equation
x2 − 3x + 2 = 0
factors as
(x − 1)(x − 2) = 0
and thus has as roots x = 1 and x = 2. Since 1 and 2 are not equal, these roots are distinct.
In contrast, the equation:
x2 − 2x + 1 = 0
factors as
(x − 1)(x − 1) = 0
and thus has as roots x = 1 and x = 1. Since 1 and 1 are (of course) equal, the roots are not distinct; they coincide.
In other words, the first equation has distinct roots, while the second does not. (In the general theory, the discriminant is introduced to explain this.)

Proving distinctness

In order to prove that two things x and y are distinct, it often helps to find some property that one has but not the other. For a simple example, if for some reason we had any doubt that the roots 1 and 2 in the above example were distinct, then we might prove this by noting that 1 is an odd number while 2 is even. This would prove that 1 and 2 are distinct.
Along the same lines, one can prove that x and y are distinct by finding some function f and proving that f(x) and f(y) are distinct. This may seem like a simple idea, and it is, but many deep results in mathematics concern when you can prove distinctness by particular methods. For example,
distinct in German: Paarweise verschieden
distinct in Thai: ภาวะแตกต่าง

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absolute, apart, apparent, articulate, assorted, asunder, at odds, at variance, audible, bipartite, categorical, certain, clean-cut, clear, clear as crystal, clear as day, clear-cut, coherent, concrete, connected, consistent, conspicuous, contrary, contrasted, contrasting, contrastive, crisp, crystal-clear, crystalline, defined, definite, departing, detached, detailed, determinate, deviating, deviative, dichotomous, different, differentiated, differing, direct, disaccordant, disagreeing, discernible, discontinuous, discordant, discrepant, discrete, discriminated, disjoined, disparate, dissimilar, dissonant, distinctive, distinguishable, distinguished, divergent, diverging, divers, diverse, diversified, esoteric, especial, evident, exact, exceptional, explicit, express, extraordinary, fixed, glaring, hearable, heterogeneous, hi-fi, high-fidelity, in disagreement, in focus, in two, inaccordant, incisive, incoherent, incompatible, incongruous, inconsistent, inconsonant, indisputable, individual, indubitable, inharmonious, inner, insular, intimate, irreconcilable, limpid, loud and clear, lucid, luminous, manifest, many, marked, minute, motley, multifarious, noncohesive, noteworthy, noticeable, observable, obvious, open-and-shut, palpable, particular, partitioned, patent, peculiar, pellucid, perceivable, perceptible, personal, perspicuous, plain, plain as day, poles apart, poles asunder, precise, prescribed, private, prominent, pronounced, recognizable, respective, seeable, self-evident, self-explaining, self-explanatory, separate, separated, several, sharp, simple, single, singular, sole, solipsistic, special, specific, staring, straightforward, sui generis, tangible, to be seen, translucent, transparent, transpicuous, trenchant, unambiguous, unassociated, unattached, unattended, uncommon, unconformable, unconfused, unconnected, understandable, unequal, unequivocal, unique, univocal, unjoined, unlike, unmistakable, unusual, variant, varied, variegated, various, varying, visible, vivid, well-defined, well-marked, well-pronounced, well-resolved, widely apart, worlds apart
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1