Words related to distinguish

Origin and meaning of dis-

word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.

The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").

In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.

As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).

extinguish (v.)

"to put out, quench, stifle," 1540s, from Latin extinguere/exstinguere "quench, put out (what is burning); wipe out, obliterate," from ex "out" (see ex-) + stinguere "quench," apparently an evolved sense from PIE *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce" (see stick (v.)). But see distinguish (v.). Related: Extinguished; extinguishing.

admonish (v.)

mid-14c., amonesten "remind, urge, exhort, warn, give warning," from Old French amonester "urge, encourage, warn" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *admonestare, from Latin admonere "bring to mind, remind (of a debt);" also "warn, advise, urge," from ad "to," here probably with frequentative force (see ad-) + monere "to admonish, warn, advise," from PIE *moneie- "to make think of, remind," suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) "to think."

The -d- was restored on Latin model in English as in French (Modern French admonester). The ending was influenced by words in -ish (such as astonish, abolish). Related: Admonished; admonishing. Latin also had commonere "to remind," promonere "to warn openly," submonere "to advise privately" (source of summon).

astonish (v.)

c. 1300, astonien, "to stun, strike senseless," from Old French estoner "to stun, daze, deafen, astound," from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex "out" (see ex-) + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)); so, literally "to leave someone thunderstruck." The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, such as distinguish, diminish) is attested from 1520s. The meaning "amaze, shock with wonder" is from 1610s.

No wonder is thogh that she were astoned [Chaucer, "Clerk's Tale"]

Related: Astonished; astonishing.

contradistinguish (v.)

"distinguish by opposite qualities," 1630s; see contra- + distinguish. Related: Contradistinguished; contradistinguishing.

distinct (adj.)

late 14c., "not identical, not the same," also "clearly perceptible by sense," past-participle adjective from obsolete distincten (c. 1300) "to distinguish one thing from another; make distinct," from Old French distincter, from Latin distinctus, past participle of distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish). Meaning "plain and intelligible to the mind" is from c. 1600. Related: Distinctness.

distinction (n.)

c. 1200, distinccioun, "one of the parts into which something is divided; a chapter or paragraph;" late 14c., "action of distinguishing" by giving a distinctive mark or character to, or by observing existing marks or differences, from Old French distinction and directly from Latin distinctionem (nominative distinctio) "separation, distinction, discrimination," noun of action from past-participle stem of distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish).

Meaning "a distinctive nature or character" is late 14c.; sense of "a note or mark of difference (between) is from early 15c. Phrase distinction without a difference is by 1570s.  Meaning "that which confers or marks superiority, excellence, or eminence" (what distinguishes from others) is recorded by 1690s.

distinctive (adj.)

early 15c., "marking distinction, difference, or peculiarity," from Old French distinctif and directly from Medieval Latin distinctivus, from Latin distinct-, past-participle stem of distinguere "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish). Meaning "markedly individual" is from 1580s. Related: Distinctively; distinctiveness.

distingue (adj.)

"having an air of distinction," 1813 (in Byron), from French distingué, literally "distinguished," past participle of distinguer "to separate between, keep separate, mark off" (see distinguish).

The girls I knew had sad and sullen gray faces
With distingué traces
That used to be there — You could see where they'd been washed away
By too many through the day
Twelve o'clock tales.
["Lush Life," Billy Strayhorn, age 17]

There was a verb distingue (Middle English distinguen, mid-14c., "to divide or subdivide, discern, perceive"), from Old French distinguer, but it has not survived.

distinguishable (adj.)

1590s, "capable of being distinguished from something else;" see distinguish + -able. Meaning "capable of being perceived" is from 1610s. Related: Distinguishably.