1. Readily distinguishable from all others; discrete: on two distinct occasions.
2. Easily perceived by the senses: a distinct flavor.
3. Clearly defined; unquestionable: at a distinct disadvantage.
[Middle English, past participle of distincten, to distinguish, discern, from Old French destincter, from Latin distīnctus, past participle of distinguere, to distinguish; see DISTINGUISH.]
Synonyms: distinct, discrete, separate, several
These adjectives mean distinguished from others in nature or qualities: six distinct colors; a company with six discrete divisions; a problem with two separate issues; executed several steps of the process. See Also Synonyms at apparent.
Usage Note: A thing is distinct if it is sharply distinguished from other things; a property or attribute is distinctive if it enables us to distinguish one thing from another. There are two distinct colors on the face of the Canada goose means that the two colors are clearly different from each other, while There are two distinctive colors on the face of the Canada goose means that the two colors are different from colors found on the faces of other birds, and the Canada goose may be identified by these two colors.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.