1. The act of differing; the state or measure of being different or unlike; distinction; dissimilarity; unlikeness; variation; as, a difference of quality in paper; a difference in degrees of heat, or of light; what is the difference between the innocent and the guilty? Differencies of administration, but the same lord. (1 cor. Xii. 5)
2. Disagreement in opinion; dissension; controversy; quarrel; hence, cause of dissension; matter in controversy. What was the difference? It was a contention in public. (Shak) Away therefore went i with the constable, leaving the old warden and the young constable to compose their difference as they could. (t. Ellwood)
3. That by which one thing differs from another; that which distinguishes or causes to differ;; mark of distinction; characteristic quality; specific attribute. The marks and differences of sovereignty. (Davies)
4. Choice; preference. That now be chooseth with vile difference to be a beast, and lack intelligence. (Spenser)
5. An addition to a coat of arms to distinguish the bearings of two persons, which would otherwise be the same. See augmentation, and marks of cadency, under Cadency.
6. (Science: logic) The quality or attribute which is added to those of the genus to constitute a species; a differentia.
7. (Science: mathematics) The quantity by which one quantity differs from another, or the remainder left after subtracting the one from the other. Ascensional difference. See ascensional.
Synonym: distinction, dissimilarity, dissimilitude, variation, diversity, variety, contrariety, disagreement, variance, contest, contention, dispute, controversy, debate, quarrel, wrangle, strife.
Origin: f. Difference, L. Differentia.