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Distinct vs. Unique: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Distinct means clearly different or noticeable; unique refers to being the only one of its kind, unparalleled.
Distinct vs. Unique

Key Differences

Distinct refers to something that is clearly different or distinguishable from others. Unique describes something that is the only one of its kind and without an equal or equivalent.
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Nov 13, 2023
In language, distinct is used to describe clear differences or separations between items or concepts. Unique is employed to emphasize the singularity and exclusivity of an item or idea.
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Nov 13, 2023
Distinct implies a perceptible difference that makes something stand out. Unique carries the connotation of rarity and individuality, often implying a special or unparalleled status.
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Nov 13, 2023
Distinct can be used in varying degrees; something can be more or less distinct. Unique, however, is absolute and does not admit degrees; something cannot be more or less unique.
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Nov 13, 2023
While distinct and unique can overlap in meaning when something stands out clearly, unique goes further by implying that it is the only one of its kind.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Clearly different or distinguishable
Being the only one of its kind
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Degree of Comparison

Can be used in varying degrees
Absolute, does not admit degrees
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Nov 13, 2023

Usage

Describes differences or separations
Emphasizes singularity and exclusivity
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Connotation

Noticeability, separation
Rarity, individuality, unparalleled
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Example

Two distinct styles of painting
A unique piece of art with no replicas
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Distinct and Unique Definitions

Distinct

Clearly noticeable or different.
The distinct flavors in the dish were a delight to the palate.
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Unique

Without an equal or equivalent.
His unique talent for music set him apart from his peers.
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Distinct

Having a unique quality or characteristic.
She has a distinct way of speaking that sets her apart.
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Unique

Singular in excellence or uniqueness.
Her unique perspective brought fresh ideas to the project.
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Distinct

Clearly defined or explicit.
The contract laid out the terms in distinct language.
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Unique

Having a special quality.
The city had a unique charm that captivated visitors.
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Distinct

Readily distinguishable from all others; discrete
On two distinct occasions.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Being the only one of its kind
The unique existing example of Donne's handwriting.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Easily perceived by the senses
A distinct flavor.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Characteristic only of a particular category or entity
A weather pattern that is unique to coastal areas.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Clearly defined; unquestionable
At a distinct disadvantage.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Remarkable; extraordinary
A unique opportunity to buy a house.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Capable of being perceived very clearly.
Her voice was distinct despite the heavy traffic.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

(uncomparable) Being the only one of its kind; unequaled, unparalleled or unmatched.
Every person has a unique life, therefore every person has a unique journey.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Different from one another (with the preferable adposition being "from").
Horses are distinct from zebras.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Of a feature, such that only one holder has it.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Noticeably different from others; distinctive.
Olga's voice is quite distinct because of her accent.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Particular, characteristic.
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Distinct

Separate in place; not conjunct or united; with from.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

(proscribed) Of a rare quality, unusual.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

(obsolete) Distinguished; having the difference marked; separated by a visible sign; marked out; specified.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

A thing without a like; something unequalled or unparallelled; one of a kind.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

(obsolete) Marked; variegated.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Being without a like or equal; unmatched; unequaled; unparalleled; single in kind or excellence; sole.
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

To distinguish; to make a distinction.
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Unique

A thing without a like; something unequaled or unparalleled.
The phenix, the unique pf birds.
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Distinct

Distinguished; having the difference marked; separated by a visible sign; marked out; specified.
Wherever thus created - for no placeIs yet distinct by name.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Radically distinctive and without equal;
He is alone in the field of microbiology
This theory is altogether alone in its penetration of the problem
Bach was unique in his handling of counterpoint
Craftsmen whose skill is unequaled
Unparalleled athletic ability
A breakdown of law unparalleled in our history
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Distinct

Marked; variegated.
The which [place] was dightWith divers flowers distinct with rare delight.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

(followed by `to') applying exclusively to a given category or condition or locality;
A species unique to Australia
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Distinct

Separate in place; not conjunct; not united by growth or otherwise; - with from.
The intention was that the two armies which marched out together should afterward be distinct.
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Unique

The single one of its kind;
A singular example
The unique existing example of Donne's handwriting
A unique copy of an ancient manuscript
Certain types of problems have unique solutions
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Not identical; different; individual.
To offend, and judge, are distinct offices.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Highly unusual or rare but not the single instance;
Spoke with a unique accent
Had unique ability in raising funds
A frankness unique in literature
A unique dining experience
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Distinct

So separated as not to be confounded with any other thing; not liable to be misunderstood; not confused; well-defined; clear; as, we have a distinct or indistinct view of a prospect.
Relation more particular and distinct.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

The only one of its kind.
She owned a unique necklace that was specially crafted for her.
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Nov 13, 2023

Distinct

To distinguish.
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Oct 19, 2023

Unique

Uncommon or rare.
The gallery displayed a unique collection of ancient artifacts.
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Nov 13, 2023

Distinct

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
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

(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
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Distinct

Constituting a separate entity or part;
A government with three discrete divisions
On two distinct occasions
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Distinct

Recognizable; marked;
Noticed a distinct improvement
At a distinct (or decided) disadvantage
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Distinct

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
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Oct 19, 2023

Distinct

Markedly separate or defined.
The garden was divided into distinct sections for vegetables and flowers.
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Nov 13, 2023

Distinct

Recognizably different in nature from something else.
There are distinct cultural differences between the two countries.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are distinct differences always obvious?

Yes, distinct differences are typically clear and noticeable.
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Nov 13, 2023

How is unique defined?

Unique refers to being the only one of its kind, unparalleled.
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What does distinct mean?

Distinct means clearly noticeable or different.
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Nov 13, 2023

Is unique always positive?

Unique is often seen positively, but it can be neutral, depending on context.
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Does unique imply quality?

Unique often implies a special quality, but not necessarily superiority.
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How do distinct and unique differ in usage?

Distinct emphasizes clear differences, while unique emphasizes singularity.
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Nov 13, 2023

Can unique be used in degrees?

No, unique is absolute and does not admit degrees.
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Nov 13, 2023

Is distinct a comparative term?

Yes, something can be more or less distinct compared to others.
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Nov 13, 2023

Can something be both distinct and unique?

Yes, an item can be both clearly distinguishable (distinct) and the only one of its kind (unique).
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Can an idea be distinct?

Yes, an idea can be distinct if it is clearly different from others.
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Is every unique item also distinct?

While most unique items are distinct, being unique focuses more on singularity.
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What makes a product unique?

A product is unique if it is the only one of its kind or has a special characteristic.
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Can unique be subjective?

The perception of uniqueness can be subjective, though the term implies objective singularity.
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Does distinct imply excellence?

Distinct does not necessarily imply excellence, only clear differentiation.
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Is distinctiveness always intentional?

Not always; sometimes distinctiveness can be a natural or unintended feature.
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Can a person be unique?

Yes, a person can be unique in terms of their combination of qualities, characteristics, or talents.
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Nov 13, 2023

Can something be too distinct?

Yes, something can be so distinct that it stands out sharply, which may not always be desirable.
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Can unique items become commonplace?

Once unique items can become more common over time, but they were unique at their inception.
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Are distinct features always beneficial?

Not necessarily; distinct features can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on the context.
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What is an example of something distinct?

An example of something distinct could be a painting style that is markedly different from others.
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Nov 13, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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