Quick answer
"Diferencias" is a form of "diferenciar", a transitive verb which is often translated as "to distinguish". "Semejanza" is a noun which is often translated as "similarity". Learn more about the difference between "diferencias" and "semejanza" below.
A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object (e.g. I bought a book.).
1. (to discern)
a. to distinguish
No soy sommelier, pero puedo diferenciar un vino bueno de uno barato.I'm not a sommelier, but I can distinguish a good wine from a cheap one.
b. to differentiate
El color del gato te puede ayudar a diferenciar un macho de una hembra.The color of the cat can help you differentiate a male from a female.
c. to tell the difference
¡Lucía ni puede diferenciar un Picasso de un Van Gogh!Lucia can't even tell the difference between a Picasso and a Van Gogh!
d. to tell apart
¡Tus hijas son muy parecidas! A veces me cuesta diferenciarlas.Your daughters look alike! Sometimes I can't tell them apart.
2. (to set apart)
a. to make different
¿Me puedes explicar qué es lo que diferencia a los socialistas de los comunistas?Can you explain to me what makes socialists and communist different?
A pronominal verb always uses a reflexive pronoun. (e.g. Te ves cansado.).
3. (to be unlike)
a. to be different
Esta especie se diferencia porque presenta alas más cortas.This species is different because its wings are shorter.
b. to differ
La Iglesia católica se diferencia de la ortodoxa en algunos aspectos clave.The Catholic and the Orthodox Church differ in some key aspects.
4. (to be conspicuous)
a. to stand out
Nuestra universidad se diferencia por su distinguido cuerpo docente.Our university stands out for its distinguished faculty.
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A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (likeness)
a. similarity
Existen muchas semejanzas entre ambos países, pero también muchas diferencias.There exist many similarities between both countries, but also many differences.
b. resemblance
Es increíble la semejanza entre madre e hija.The resemblance between mother and daughter is incredible.
2. (figure of speech)
a. simile
El autor hace un uso pleno de semejanzas y metáforas.The author makes full use of similes and metaphors.
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