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difference noun

1 way in which people/things are not the same

ADJ. big, broad, considerable, dramatic, enormous, great, huge, large, major, profound, radical, real, sharp, substantial, vast, wide A little extra care makes a big difference. I noticed a real difference in his attitude. | basic, essential, fundamental | crucial, important, key, significant | clear, distinct, marked, notable, noticeable, obvious, striking | minor, slight, subtle | national, regional | age, class, cultural, ethnic, gender, genetic, physical, psychological, racial, sex, social | historical, ideological, political | temperature, time What's the time difference between London and Tokyo?

VERB + DIFFERENCE make The new central heating has made an enormous difference to the house. What difference does it make if he doesn't have a car? | mean One tiny mistake when you're climbing could mean the difference between life and death. | exaggerate, emphasize, focus on, highlight, stress, underline We should be focusing on what we have in common rather than emphasizing our differences. | appreciate, be aware of, feel, know, notice, perceive, see, spot, tell Only an expert would know the difference between the male and the female. Can you spot the difference between these two photos? It's difficult to tell the difference between butterflies and moths. | explain, illustrate | examine, explore, look at The study explores the differences between the way girls and boys talk. | show The questionnaire showed vast differences in what kind of product people want. | reflect Our different attitudes to life reflect the differences in our backgrounds.

DIFFERENCE + VERB be, lie The difference lies in the way the fruit is prepared. | arise (from sth), exist The differences in size arise from the amount of sunshine each plant gets.

PREP. ~ between There's a big difference between reading about skiing and doing it yourself. | ~ from He was very aware of his difference from the other children. | ~ in The difference in price is not very significant. | ~ of a crucial difference of emphasis | ~ with There is one key difference with the earlier version of the software. The difference with this information service is that it's free.

PHRASES a … with a difference If you want a holiday with a difference, come to Iceland. | all the difference in the world There's all the difference in the world between choosing to do something and being forced to do it. | a great deal of/a lot difference The extra money will make a lot of difference to us. | make all the difference Just five minutes' exercise a day could make all the difference. | no difference/not much difference There's not much difference between baseball and softball.

2 sum of money in addition to the sum expected

VERB + DIFFERENCE pay If you decide you would prefer the more expensive model, you can bring this one back and pay the difference. | make up He hadn't got quite enough money, but his aunt agreed to make up the difference. | pocket He sold the car for more than he'd paid and pocketed the difference. | split (figurative) I wanted to leave early and Ian wanted to leave late, so we split the difference and left at noon.

3 disagreement

ADJ. irreconcilable, major, serious, sharp | minor, slight | outstanding This round of talks aims to resolve the outstanding differences between the two sides.

VERB + DIFFERENCE have They have had some minor differences, but in general they get on well together. | make up, patch up, put aside, reconcile, resolve, settle We're going to get the two sides together to see if they can't settle their differences.

DIFFERENCE + VERB arise, emerge, occur Differences may arise when the young people do not have the same expectations as their parents. | remain Although the talks were generally successful, differences remain between the groups.

PREP. ~ as to/over There were some differences as to how to deal with the crisis.

PHRASES a difference of opinion She and Luke had a difference of opinion over how much money they should spend. | have your differences Like any married couple, we have our differences.