This tag is for questions about the differences in the meaning of two words.

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12
votes
5answers
10k views

Difference between “garbage” and “trash”?

What's the difference between garbage and trash? Is the difference significant?
30
votes
12answers
10k views

Do the words “jail” and “prison” refer to different things?

In everyday speech, the terms jail and prison are used interchangeably in many situations. However, my understanding is that, at least in the US, they actually refer to slightly different things. For ...
26
votes
6answers
31k views

Difference between “validation” and “verification”

What is the difference between validation and verification? When looking them up on Wiktionary they seem to mean mostly the same thing, but is there a difference? For example, would I be correct in ...
14
votes
6answers
63k views

What's the difference between “client” and “customer”?

I already asked a similar question (customer vs. client vs. user vs. consumer of on-line service) but, I believe, there may be some differences between technical and legal jargon and general usage of ...
13
votes
4answers
84k views

“Percent” vs. “percentile”

Just because .01% of people may be at risk of frying themselves on the third rail doesn't mean they need to modify the system for that miniscule percentile. It just means you need to let Darwinism run ...
11
votes
3answers
52k views

Difference between “are you done” and “have you done.”

I was just wondering, how can we differentiate "are you done?" and "have you done?", and what is the appropriate way to use each?
35
votes
6answers
28k views

Difference between “artifact” and “artefact”

Is there any usage preference between artifact and artefact? My understanding was that an artifact was properly applied to physical, historical objects, while an artefact was more correct for more ...
17
votes
1answer
86k views

What is the difference between “in-between” and “between”?

Do in-between and between have different meanings? What is the difference between in-between and between?
15
votes
6answers
252k views

Difference between “supposedly” and “supposably”

What is the difference between supposedly and supposably? Both are real words but seem to have confusingly similar definitions. Supposably: Capable of being supposed : conceivable ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

What are: province, territory, protectorate, state…?

Often a country will have regions called "provinces" or "states". Other times they are called "territories" and "protectorates". Is there a generic term for these words? Is there a full list of ...
14
votes
10answers
31k views

Difference between “question” and “query”

What is the difference between a question and a query? It seems that in certain circumstances, the words are interchangeable: I have one further question. I have one further query. But, ...
14
votes
3answers
27k views

What is the difference between “none of …” and “neither of”? [closed]

What's the difference between the following examples: Neither of my teachers are mathematicians. None of my teachers are mathematicians.
12
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the difference between “citizen” and “denizen”

Citizen: 1. A legally recognized subject ornational of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. 2. An inhabitant of a particular town or city. Denizen: 1. An inhabitant or occupant of a ...
11
votes
3answers
58k views

What's the difference between “imbalance” and “unbalance”?

Is there a difference in usage between imbalance and unbalance as nouns? Specifically, we are designing a product where we measure three (3) related quantities continuously. These three quantities ...
8
votes
4answers
65k views

“Lept” vs. “leapt” vs. “leaped”

After reading this discussion, I'd like to know what example sentences distinguish the meaning of the words lept, leapt, and leaped from each other?
7
votes
2answers
17k views

What's the difference between “by night” and “at night”?

Oxford Dictionaries say by has the meaning of 6. indicating the period in which something happens: ‘this animal always hunts by night’ Then do we need to say, ‘Why does the sky glitter by night?...
7
votes
6answers
28k views

What is the difference between “Class of 2004” and “Batch of 2004”?

What is the difference between "Class of 2004" and "Batch of 2004"? I have a feeling that one means the students who joined the university in 2004 and the other means those who graduated in 2004. Is ...
30
votes
2answers
19k views

What is the difference between “maybe” and “may be”?

What is the difference in meaning and usage between maybe and may be? Are they synonymous?
25
votes
6answers
16k views

What is the difference between “archetype” and “prototype”?

I'm very confused by the difference between "archetype" and "prototype", and even more baffled when to use which. Can someone clarify?
18
votes
4answers
90k views

Bachelor thesis or Bachelor's thesis

During my final year at university, I wrote what I thought was a "bachelor thesis". Right before printing it I stumbled upon several documents stating the name "bachelor's thesis". (Here we do not ...
17
votes
12answers
28k views

What is the difference between “quicker” and “faster”?

What is the correct word to use here and why: I will get there quicker [than you] vs. I will get there faster [than you] There must be similar adverbs for "slower".
11
votes
4answers
14k views

What's the difference between orthography and spelling?

The terms "spelling" and "orthography" seem to be largely synonymous. What is the difference really? Is it that "orthography" is a more formal or technical term and hence more well-defined? Or is it ...
10
votes
5answers
19k views

Which is the proper spelling: “Adapter” or “adaptor”?

In my current project we are writing a program to convert a newer protocol to an older one. These conversion programs are being referred to as adapters, but the team cannot agree which spelling to ...
9
votes
5answers
75k views

“Movies” vs. “Cinema” vs. “Theater” — what's the difference?

What are the differences between going to "the movies", "the cinema", and "the theater/theatre" (ignoring the fact that theaters are also for plays and not just movies)? Personally, "movies" sounds ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

“Just” versus “simply”

To which extent is just interchangeable with simply, as in the example? It's becoming more than just annoying. It's becoming more than simply annoying. Is just synonym of simply in just any ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

“Also” and “as well” for conversational context

"Also" and "as well" seem to be quite similar in meaning, but I'd like to know shades in its meaning and usage, especially for everyday conversational language. What one will sound more natural and ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Differences between “tutorial”, “guide” and “how-to”

The categorization on Android Wiki looks pretty arbitrary and redundant to me contemplating the single articles in the categories. In every one you find a tutorial, guide and how-to on for example How ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“Normalization” vs. “canonicalization”

It seems both normalization and canonicalization are used to describe the effort to transform from an arbitrary form to a unique form. Is there any difference between the two words? Why is there XML ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

“A wrong answer” vs “the wrong answer”

In English, when presented with a list (real or imagined) or answers that could be given to a question, and the correct one is not given, we will say that somebody has given "the wrong answer". ...
5
votes
5answers
44k views

“Do you have” vs “Have you got” [duplicate]

I am studying English and I want to know the main difference between “Have you got?” and “Do you have?” questions. Are they the same? Is one more formal than the other?
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Difference between 'sort of', 'kind of' and 'somewhat'?

I was told that these three phases have the same meanings, but I want to know if there are any differences between them: sort of kind of somewhat
5
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the difference between “horrify” and “terrify”?

When would I use one, versus using the other?
5
votes
3answers
22k views

What's the difference between a proverb and an idiom?

I think I have a notion what is what but maybe you know a good definition what is what? For example "Hindsight is always 20:20" — is that a proverb or an idiom?
3
votes
6answers
8k views

What is the difference between “attribute” and “property”? [closed]

Could you please clear up the meaning of these two words for me? I don't understand this sentence: Attributes introduced by RDFA have names. For example, property is one such attribute.
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Is the line blurring between “accent” and “dialect”?

The definition that I have had in my head for most of my life is: dialect: a variation of the original language (usually regional), sometimes even using different vocabulary and grammar ...
22
votes
6answers
5k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
21
votes
4answers
21k views

What's the difference between “mistrust” and “distrust”?

Are mistrust and distrust synonyms? And if so, how have two such similar words coexist for so long? Google N-grams suggests the two words have coexisted since the 1700's.
21
votes
7answers
48k views

What's the difference between “big” and “large”?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
17
votes
8answers
25k views

Difference between “condo” and “apartment”

I have never really understood the connotation of someone calling their domicile a condo over the word apartment. I have a vague feeling the former is fancier and more up-scale, but are there any ...
13
votes
4answers
36k views

What's the difference between the words “plate” and “dish”?

I'm confused about the words dish and plate. Could someone please explain the difference?
13
votes
11answers
33k views

“Environmentally-friendly” vs. “Environment-friendly”

"Environmentally-friendly" sounds completely normal to me. So does "Environment-friendly". But I'm pretty sure I favour the former (despite the fact that I normally prefer the shorter of any two ...
12
votes
2answers
98k views

What's the difference between “dissatisfied” and “unsatisfied”?

Is there a clear-cut difference between dissatisfied and unsatisfied?
11
votes
5answers
30k views

When would you say “woods”, and when would you say “forest”?

Is there any difference here at all?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Difference between “spirit” and “soul”

What is the difference between spirit and soul? Is the word soul used for only human beings? For instance, He [Descartes] thought the brain worked as a center for the spirits of the soul.
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Different Meanings of 'Jumper' (Transatlantic embarassment)

I'm originally from Wales, now living in the USA, and as the cold weather is approaching I'm determined, this year, to start using the word sweater to describe the item of clothing I'm wearing, as ...
5
votes
1answer
20k views

Distinctly vs Distinctively

I use the latter most of the time, but I am unsure where the former is more appropriate. What are the different uses of "distinctly" vs "distinctively"?
5
votes
4answers
60k views

What is the difference between “don't care” and “don't mind”?

From an English Help Online blog post: “don’t mind” sounds very polite and gentle. It’s like the person is saying “It’s ok with me.”; however, “don’t care” sounds stronger and it’s like the ...
5
votes
3answers
27k views

“Turn out the light” vs “Turn off the light”

What is the difference between "turn out the lights" and "turn off the lights"? Are they interchangeable? Which one seems more appropriate if there is no difference?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“Go XXX” or “go to XXX”

Sometimes I see go XXX (go home) and sometimes go to XXX (go to school, go to work). Is there any specific rule about this?
3
votes
1answer
17k views

'Preclude' vs 'Exclude' vs 'Prevent'

I'm trying to really understand how the word preclude differs from either exclude or include. Merriam Webster defines preclude as to make impossible by necessary consequence : rule out in advance ...