difference

(redirected from differences)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

all the difference in the world

The greatest degree of difference that is possible or conceivable. Without the verbs "mean" or "make," it is used to compare two disparate things. There's all the difference in the world between knowing how to play and actually performing on the field. I was sympathetic at first, but finding out you didn't even study for the test makes all the difference in the world. You're grounded!
See also: all, difference, world

dime's worth of difference

A miniscule, insignificant, or indiscernible amount of difference. Often used in the negative for extra emphasis. There isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two candidates—they're both crooks, in my opinion. You can holler all you like, it won't make a dime's worth of difference.
See also: difference, of, worth

what's the difference

1. How do these things differ? Said in this way, the phrase is a legitimate question that the speaker wants answered. What's the difference between these two recipes? They use the exact same ingredients and everything. What's the difference between all these cell phones?
2. What does it matter? Said in this way, the phrase is usually an aside highlighting the speaker's frustration. We can take the long way home, or we can sit in traffic here. Both ways will take forever, so what's the difference? What's the difference if I come home on Friday night or Saturday morning? You guys will be asleep either way!
See also: difference

a world of difference

1. A stark contrast. There's a world of difference between high school classes and college classes.
2. A vast improvement. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. A fresh coat of paint has made a world of difference in that old house.
See also: difference, of, world

a difference of opinion

A dispute or disagreement. It seems that we have a difference of opinion about how to interpret the text.
See also: difference, of, opinion

make a world of difference

To create a very noticeable effect, especially a vast improvement. A fresh coat of paint has made a world of difference in that old house. A good night's sleep, proper meals, and a bit of exercise can make a world of difference to your outlook on life.
See also: difference, make, of, world

make all the difference (in the world)

To create a very noticeable effect, especially a vast improvement. A fresh coat of paint has made all the difference for that old house. A good night's sleep, proper meals, and a bit of exercise can make all the difference in the world to your outlook on life.
See also: all, difference, make

make a difference

1. To have some effect on something; to cause a change. Will it make a difference if I add the salt before or after I heat up the soup? I don't think it will make a difference if we're five minutes late.
2. To have an impact, especially in a positive way. Graduates, you can make a difference in this world. You can reshape the future! He probably doesn't know it, but his kindness to us as kids really made a difference.
See also: difference, make

(It) makes no difference to me.

 and (It) makes me no difference.; (It) makes me no nevermind.; (It) don't make me no nevermind.
Inf. I really do not care, one way or the other. (The first one is standard, the others are colloquial.) Bill: Mind if I sit here? Tom: Makes no difference to me. Bill: What would you say if I ate the last piece of cake? Bob: Don't make me no nevermind.
See also: difference, make

make a difference in someone or something

to cause a noticeable change in someone or something. Getting a job made a big difference in my lifestyle. His mother's death made a difference in his attitude toward doctors.
See also: difference, make

make a difference to someone

[for one choice or another] to matter to someone. The big one or the little one—does it really make a difference to anyone? It makes quite a difference to me!
See also: difference, make

make no difference (to someone)

[for a choice] not to matter to someone. (Any is used with negative nouns or verbs.) Pick whom you like. It makes no difference to me. It doesn't make any difference to me. Nothing much makes any difference to them anymore.
See also: difference, make

same difference

the same; no difference at all. Pink, fuchsia, what does it matter? Same difference. Whether you go or I go, it's the same difference.
See also: difference, same

split the difference

to divide the difference evenly (with someone else). You want to sell for $120, and I want to buy for $100. Let's split the difference and close the deal at $110. I don't want to split the difference. I want $120.
See also: difference, split

tell the difference between (someone and someone else) (or something and something else)

to recognize the things that distinguish people or things. I can't tell the difference between Billy and Bobby. Sam can't tell the difference between Granny Smith and Royal Gala apples.
See also: difference, tell

What difference does it make?

Does it really matter?; Does it cause any trouble? What if I choose to leave home? What difference does it make? So Jane dropped out of the club. What difference does it make?
See also: difference, does, what

make a difference

1. Distinguish or discriminate. This phrase appears in the Bible (Leviticus 11:47): "To make a difference between the unclean and the clean." [Late 1500s]
2. Also, make the difference. Cause a change in effect, change the nature of something, as in His score on this test will make the difference between passing and failing, or These curtains sure make a difference in the lighting.
3. Be important, matter, as in Her volunteer work made a difference in many lives. The antonym of this usage is make no difference, as in It makes no difference to me if we go immediately or in an hour. This usage appeared long ago in slightly different versions. Miles Coverdale's translation of the Bible of 1535 had it is no difference, and the converse, it makes great difference, was first recorded about 1470.
See also: difference, make

same difference

No difference at all, the same thing, as in She's my sister, or stepsister-same difference. This jocular colloquial phrase dates from about 1940.
See also: difference, same

split the difference

Compromise between two close figures, divide the remainder equally. For example, You're asking $5,000 for the car and I'm offering $4,000; let's split the difference and make it $4,500 . [c. 1700]
See also: difference, split

same difference

n. the same; no difference at all. Pink, fuchsia, what does it matter? Same difference.
See also: difference, same

split the difference

To take half of a disputed amount as a compromise.
See also: difference, split
References in classic literature ?
But it is the opinion of most physiologists that there is no essential difference between a bud and an ovule in their earliest stages of formation; so that, in fact,
When we attempt to estimate the amount of structural difference between the domestic races of the same species, we are soon involved in doubt, from not knowing whether they have descended from one or several parent-species.
Was not the selection of the male guardians determined by differences of this sort?
No, he said, they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker.
Why, we valiantly and pugnaciously insist upon the verbal truth, that different natures ought to have different pursuits, but we never considered at all what was the meaning of sameness or difference of nature, or why we distinguished them when we assigned different pursuits to different natures and the same to the same natures.
If, then, there is to be some standing difference between the person who can remember a certain fact and the person who cannot, that standing difference must be, not in anything mental, but in the brain.
Whenever the effect resulting from a stimulus to an organism differs according to the past history of the organism, without our being able actually to detect any relevant difference in its present structure, we will speak of "mnemic causation," provided we can discover laws embodying the influence of the past.
And therein I think I can lay my finger upon the difference between the seamen of yesterday, who are still with us, and the seamen of to-morrow, already entered upon the possession of their inheritance.
And what is the difference, if a state is dissolved at once by such violent means, or if it gradually so alters in process of time as to be no longer the same constitution?
In this quotation from Chaucer I have not changed the old spelling into modern as I did in the chapter on Chaucer, so that you may see the difference between the two styles more clearly.
If you can see the difference between these two quotations you can see the difference between the poetry of Dryden's age and all that went before him.
If you can feel the difference between Chaucer and Dryden you will understand in part what I meant by saying that Dryden was the expression of his time.
Again, to mark the nice distinction between two persons actuated by the same vice or folly is another; and, as this last talent is found in very few writers, so is the true discernment of it found in as few readers; though, I believe, the observation of this forms a very principal pleasure in those who are capable of the discovery; every person, for instance, can distinguish between Sir Epicure Mammon and Sir Fopling Flutter; but to note the difference between Sir Fopling Flutter and Sir Courtly Nice requires a more exquisite judgment: for want of which, vulgar spectators of plays very often do great injustice in the theatre; where I have sometimes known a poet in danger of being convicted as a thief, upon much worse evidence than the resemblance of hands hath been held to be in the law.
No difference, when you find that I am not the fellow you thought?
I know by bitter experience, and yet you say it makes 'no difference.