From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdifferencedif‧fe‧rence /ˈdɪfərəns/ ●●●S1W1 noun1[countable, uncountable]DIFFERENT a way in which two or more people or things are not like each other opp similaritydifference betweenThere’s a big difference between knowing that something is true, and being able to prove it.There is very little difference between the parties on green issues.Do children know the difference between right and wrong?difference inResearchers found a number of important differences in the way boys and girls learn.There’s a world of difference (=there’s a very big difference) between being alone and being lonely.2[singular, uncountable]DIFFERENT the amount by which one thing is greater or smaller than anotherdifference in age/size etcThere’s not much difference in price.There’s a five-hour time difference between London and New York. → split the differenceat split1(9)3 →make a/the difference4 →it makes no difference to somebody5 →our/your/their differences6 →difference of opinion7 →with a differenceCOLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/NOUN + differencea big/major/huge differenceI think you’ll notice a big difference.an important/significant/crucial differenceA study of the two groups of students showed a significant difference.a slight/small/minor differenceThere’s only a slight difference between the male and the female bird.a marked/dramatic difference (=very noticeable)There was a marked difference between the two sets of results.a subtle difference (=not obvious)There’s a subtle difference in flavour between these coffees.an essential/fundamental difference (=a very basic one)The fundamental differences between the two sides slowly emerged.cultural/political/regional etc differencesthe major cultural differences between the west and the eastclass differences (=between different classes of society)People’s answers to the questions showed clear class differences.sex/gender differences (=between men and women)gender differences in levels of criminalityindividual differences (=between one person and another)We respect the children’s individual differences.verbsshow a differenceOur data showed considerable national differences.know the difference (=know how two things are different)If you don’t know the difference between two words, your dictionary can help.can tell/see the difference (=can recognize how two things are different)I can’t really see the difference between these two colours.notice a differenceShe has noticed a dramatic difference in her energy levels.spot the difference (=see the difference)It’s easy to spot the difference between real and imitation leather.
THESAURUSdifference a detail, fact, or quality that makes one person or thing different from anotherWe should think about the similarities between cultures, not the differences. | difference betweenTry and spot the differences between these two pictures.The difference between the two cheeses is that one is made from goat’s milk. | difference inI don’t think there’s any difference in the way you pronounce these two words. | know the differenceHe’s speaking Italian, not Spanish. Don’t you know the difference?contrast a very clear difference that you can easily see when you compare two things or people: contrast between something/somebody and something/somebodyWhat surprised me was the contrast between Picasso’s early style and his later work.gap a big difference between two amounts, two ages, or two groups of people: gap betweenThere’s a ten-year gap between Kay’s two children.The gap between rich and poor is wider in the South than in the rest of the country. | age/gender/income etc gapThe age gap between us didn’t seem to matter until we decided to have children.gulf a very big difference and lack of understanding between two groups of people, especially in their beliefs, opinions, and way of life: gulf between somebody and somebodyMore riots led to a growing gulf between the police and the communities in which they worked. | bridge/cross the gulf (=improve understanding and communication)The central problem was how to bridge the gulf between the warring factions of the party.disparity formal a big difference between two groups of people or things – use this especially when you think the difference is unfair or may cause problems: disparity betweenIt is not easy to explain the disparity that still exists between the salaries of men and women. | disparity inthe disparity in wealth between the highest and the lowest employees | the economic/income etc disparityThe economic disparity between the area’s black and white citizens is a serious problem.