verb de·fer \di-ˈfər\

Definition of DEFER

transitive verb
:  put off, delay
:  to postpone induction of (a person) into military service
de·fer·rer noun

Examples of DEFER

  1. Backers say the arrangement will make patients more cost-conscious and judicious in their use of medical service, thus restraining health-cost increases; critics say it will cause patients to defer needed treatment and will be attractive only to younger, healthier workers. —Wall Street Journal, 9 Jan. 2006

Origin of DEFER

Middle English deferren, differren, from Middle French differer, from Latin differre to postpone, be different — more at differ
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of DEFER

defer, postpone, suspend, stay mean to delay an action or proceeding. defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time <deferred buying a car until spring>. postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time <the game is postponed until Saturday>. suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied <business will be suspended while repairs are under way>. stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority <the governor stayed the execution>.


verb de·fer \di-ˈfər\

Definition of DEFER

transitive verb
:  to delegate to another <he could defer his job to no one — J. A. Michener>
intransitive verb
:  to submit to another's wishes, opinion, or governance usually through deference or respect <deferred to her father's wishes>

Examples of DEFER

  1. But in 1775, when William chose loyalty to empire over deference to his father, Franklin abruptly, angrily, and permanently broke with his son. Despite having defied his own father (in leaving Boston), Franklin pulled patriarchal rank to demand that his son defer to his politics: there are natural duties which precede political ones, and cannot be extinguished by them. —Alan Taylor, New Republic, 13 Jan. 2003

Origin of DEFER

Middle English deferren, differren, from Middle French deferer, defferer, from Late Latin deferre, from Latin, to bring down, bring, from de- + ferre to carry — more at bear
First Known Use: 15th century


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