• IPA: /ˈdɪfɹən(t)s/
  • (rare) IPA: /ˈdɪfəɹən(t)s/


  1. (uncountable) The quality of being different.
    You need to learn to be more tolerant of difference.
    Antonyms: identity, sameness
  2. (countable) A characteristic of something that makes it different from something else.
    There are three differences between these two pictures.
  3. (countable) A disagreement or argument.
    We have our little differences, but we are firm friends.
    • 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene v]:
      What was the difference? It was a contention in public.
    • Away therefore went I with the constable, leaving the old warden and the young constable to compose their difference as they could.
  4. (countable, uncountable) Significant change in or effect on a situation or state.
    • 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
      The line of the horizon was clear and hard against the sky, and in one particular quarter it showed black against a silvery climbing phosphorescence that grew and grew. At last, over the rim of the waiting earth the moon lifted with slow majesty till it swung clear of the horizon and rode off, free of moorings; and once more they began to see surfaces—meadows wide-spread, and quiet gardens, and the river itself from bank to bank, all softly disclosed, all washed clean of mystery and terror, all radiant again as by day, but with a difference that was tremendous.
    It just won't make much difference to me.
    It just won't make much of a difference to anyone.
  5. (countable) The result of a subtraction; sometimes the absolute value of this result.
    The difference between 3 and 21 is 18.
  6. (obsolete) Choice; preference.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book II, canto XII:
      That now be chooseth with vile difference / To be a beast, and lack intelligence.
  7. (heraldry) An addition to a coat of arms to distinguish two people's bearings which would otherwise be the same. See augmentation and cadency.
  8. (logic) The quality or attribute which is added to those of the genus to constitute a species; a differentia.
  9. (logic circuits) A Boolean operation which is TRUE when the two input variables are different but is otherwise FALSE; the XOR operation (\scriptstyle A \overline B + \overline A B).
  10. (relational algebra) the set of elements that are in one set but not another (\scriptstyle A \overline B).
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

difference (differences, present participle differencing; past and past participle differenced)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To distinguish or differentiate.
    • This simple spectation of the lungs is differenced from that which concomitates a pleurisy.
Synonyms Translations

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