differentiate between

differentiate between (someone or something)

1. To distinguish between multiple people or things. I have a very hard time differentiating between the Westie and the Cairn Terrier—they both look the same to me!
2. Proverb To make multiple people or things noticeably different. We hung floral garlands to differentiate between the wedding and reception areas.
See also: differentiate

differentiate between (someone or something and someone or something else)

1. to recognize the difference between people or things in any combination. (Usually refers to two entities.) In your painting, I cannot differentiate between the costume of the figure in front and the flowers in the background. Can't you differentiate between Billy and his brother? I can't differentiate between a donkey and a burro.
2. to establish or create the difference between people or things. Why don't you paint in some highlights to differentiate between the figure in the foreground and the flowers in the background?
See also: differentiate
References in classic literature ?
The point was that Michael had been trained, from his first dawn of consciousness, to differentiate between black men and white men.
For he had to learn, first, the spoken numerals; second, to see with his eyes and in his brain differentiate between one object, and all other groups of objects up to and including the group of five; and, third, in his mind, to relate an object, or any group of objects, with its numerical name as uttered by Steward.
Asked to differentiate between European and Chinese poetry, some critics would perhaps insist upon their particular colour sense, instancing the curious fact that where we see blue to them it often appears green, and vice versa, or the tone theories that make their poems so difficult to understand; in fact, a learned treatise would be written on these lines, to prove that the Chinese poets were not human beings as we understand humanity at all.
The poor dear cannot differentiate between erudition and wisdom.
Had they known that Monsieur Thuran's past experience as a card sharp had trained his sense of touch to so fine a point that he could almost differentiate between cards by the mere feel of them, they would scarcely have felt that the plan was so entirely fair.
But White Fang soon learned to differentiate between thieves and honest men, to appraise the true value of step and carriage.
We must differentiate between what he did in London as part of his general plan of action, when he was pressed for moments and had to arrange as best he could.
4,19,21) Moreover, surgeons generally do not differentiate between WDLs and ALTs when recommending treatment strategies.
When monthly expense reimbursement checks did not differentiate between substantiated expenses, overpayments and payments for tools, and excess amounts were not returned, the entire reimbursement was included in the employee's income.
IMC claimed it paid for the tools in installments when funds were available, but the payments did not differentiate between reimbursements and payments for the tools.
Unfortunately, current diagnostics are unable to differentiate between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer, which leads to unnecessary invasive treatments and complications for the vast majority of prostate cancer patients that have indolent, non-aggressive cancers," said O.
The ability to differentiate between traffic classes is a next step in the management of network resources, such as bandwidth," said Becca Nitzan, network engineer, ESnet.
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