R E F E R E N C E S
Differentiate -v.t. 1. to form or mark differently from other such things; distinguish. 2. to change; alter. 3. to perceive the difference in or between. 4. to make different by modification as a biological species. 5. Math. to obtain the differential or the derivative of. -v.i. 6. to become unlike or dissimilar; change in charactaer. 7. to make a distinction. 8. BIOL. (of cells or tissues) to change from relatively generalized to specialized kinds, during development. [< ML differentiátus distinguishd (ptp. of differentiáre)]
-Syn. to set off. See distinguish. 3. separate.
Distinction. 1. a distinguishing as different. 2. the recognizing of differences; discrimination: to make a distinction between right and wrong. 3. a discrimination made between things as different: Death comes to all without distinction. 4. the condition of being different; difference: There is a distinction between what he says and what he does. 5. a distinguishing quality or characteristic: It has the distinction of being the oldest house in the town. 6. a distinguishing or treating with special honor, attention, or favor. 7. marked superiority: note: eminence. 8. distinguished appearance. 9. Obs. division; separation.... -Syn. DISTINCTION and DIFFERENCE may both refer to perceivable dissimilarities and, in this meaning, may be used interchangeably: There is a distinction [difference] between the two. DISTINCTION, however, usually suggests the perception of dissimilarity, as the result of analysis and discrimination: a carefully made distinction between two treatments of the same theme; whereas DIFFERENCE refers only to the condition of being dissimilar; the difference between Gothic and Roman architecture. 7. renown, importance, -Ant. 4. resemblance.
Distinct. 1. distinguished as not being the same; not identical; separate [sometimes fol. by from]. 2. different in nature or quality; dissimilar [sometimes fol. by from]; Gold is distinct from iron. 3. clear to the senses or intellect; plain, definite; unmistakable; The ship appeared as a distinct silhouette. 4. distinguishing or perceiving clearly: distinct vision. 5. unusual; rare; notable: His praise is a distinct honor. 6. Archaic. distinctively decorated or adorned [ME < L distinct(us) (ptp. of distinguere to Distinguish) di- DI-2 sting- prod, mark + -tus ptp. suffix]
[Urdang, Laurence, ed. Random House Dictionary of The English Language. New York: Random House,1968.]