dis-, di-, dif-

(Latin: separation, apart, asunder; removal, away, from; negation, deprivation, undoing, reversal, utterly, completely; in different directions)

The meaning of dis- varies with different words; dif-, assimilated form of dis- before f; di-, form of dis- before b, d, g, l, m, n, r, and v.

differ (verb), differs; differed; differing
1. To be not the same; to be unlike: John just found out that the new version of the dictionary differs a great deal from the previous edition.
2. To have or express a different opinion; to disagree: Ted and Jane differed with each other as to where they would spend their vacation.
3. Etymology: from Latin differre, "to set apart".
difference (s) (noun), differences (pl)
1. A situation in which one person, or something, is not like another one: Jake's parents taught him the difference between what is right and proper and that which is unacceptable or morally wrong.

Mary believes that the difference between grocery store produce and Farmer's Market produce is the freshness.

2. The degree or amount by which some things are not the same or what is left after subtracting one number from another number: There is a 10-year difference between Jack's oldest daughter and her youngest sister.
3. A situation in which there is a divergence of opinion or direction that should be undertaken: The city councilors had several differences with Mr. Richison, the mayor, about how the parade for the summer festival should be organized.
different (adjective), more different, most different
Descriptive of that which is incompatible, distinguished, or unusual: The sisters had very different hair styles, manner of dressing and speaking to such a degree that it was hard to imagine that they were actually twins.
differentia (s) (noun), differentiae (pl)
The quality or condition that distinguishes one species from all of the others of the same genus or class: The most common differentia between felines is their size and their compatibility to live with humans; such as that which exists with lions and domestic cats.
differential (s) (noun), differentials (pl)
1. A series of gears in a car, a truck, etc. that allows for the rear wheels to turn at different rates; such as, for turning a corner: After the accident, Sandy had to replace the differential in his truck because it was damaged.
2. The distinguishing degree of not being similar to another person or items: There was a considerable differential in salaries between the newly hired salespeople and the those with years of experience.

Although there was an obvious price differential between the two cars, Samuel and Gertrude decided it was worth it to get the one that had more safety features.

differential manometer (s) (noun), differential manometers (pl)
Any device that indicates the differences in pressures between two fluids, regardless of any changes in their absolute pressures.
differentiate (verb), differentiates; differentiated; differentiating
1. To make something, or someone, not like others of the same kind: The color of their eyes is one thing that differentiates Mary's twins from each other.

There is little to differentiate one dictionary from another one because they all tend to have the same or very similar definitions and too often lack clarity because they use another form of the word that is being presented.

2. To identify that which sets one thing apart from something else; to tell one thing apart from another based on characteristics: For some people, including Janet and Linda, it is not easy to differentiate between ice cream and frozen yogurt.
differentiated (adjective), more differentiated, most differentiated
1. Descriptive of something that distinguishes or separates one thing from another one: The differentiated markings on the wings of the brown butterfly identify it as a local insect, not a migratory one.
2. The similarity between a normal cell and the cancerous cell defines what degree of change has occurred: Cancerous cells that are well differentiated are close to the original cells and are usually less aggressive.

Poorly differentiated cells which have changed more and are more aggressive.

differently (adverb), more differently, most differently
In a manner that is exceptional, unusual, or not typical: After Kitty read the case histories of her clients, she thought differently about how to manage the legal procedures.

The literal and actual meaning of difficult is "not easy".

difficulty (noun), difficulties
1. Something which is not easily done, accomplished, comprehended, or solved.
2. A troublesome or embarrassing state of affairs; especially, of financial affairs.
3. A laborious effort or struggle; trouble: "She had difficulty walking into the classroom where she completed the exam with difficulty."
4. A disagreement or dispute about an issue.
5. Having a reluctance, objection, or unwillingness to do something.
diffidence (s) (noun) (no plural)
Distrust of oneself; lacking trust in one’s own ability, worth, or fitness; having a modest or shy disposition: Marcus has an abnormal diffidence or is very timid when he is around girls, especially Harriet.

A diffident man is one who has finally discovered that there are some problems for which no one has a solution. It seems that when a person thinks he knows all the solutions to a problem, some fool comes along and asks the wrong questions.

—John Rayoa
Shyness and a lack of confidence.
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diffident (adjective), more diffident, most diffident
1. Pertaining to a lack of confidence or not feeling comfortable around certain people: When Jason is called on to answer a question that Mrs. Savage, the teacher, is asking him during class, he usually has a diffident way of expressing himself even when he is certain that he is correct.
2. A reference to being very careful about acting or speaking: As Mrs. Hoover, the reporter, asked the politician, Mrs. Traviss, if she would be running for a third term, she made a diffident response because she didn't want to say anything that could be interpreted as being slanderous about her opponent.
Descriptive of someone who is lacking self-confidence.
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A shy or timid and bashful person.
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Lacking confidence in oneself or being overly timid.
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