noun def·er·ence \ˈde-fə-rən(t)s, ˈdef-rən(t)s\

: a way of behaving that shows respect for someone or something

Full Definition of DEFERENCE

:  respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also :  affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes
in deference to
:  in consideration of <returned early in deference to her parents' wishes>

Examples of DEFERENCE

  1. Her relatives treat one another with deference.
  2. He is shown much deference by his colleagues.
  3. Deference to leaders and intolerance toward outsiders (and toward enemies within) are hallmarks of tribalism … —Benjamin R. Barber, Atlantic, March 1992


(see 2defer)
First Known Use: 1660

Synonym Discussion of DEFERENCE

honor, homage, reverence, deference mean respect and esteem shown to another. honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition <the nomination is an honor>. homage adds the implication of accompanying praise <paying homage to Shakespeare>. reverence implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe <great reverence for my father>. deference implies a yielding or submitting to another's judgment or preference out of respect or reverence <showed no deference to their elders>.

Rhymes with DEFERENCE

DEFERENCE Defined for Kids


noun def·er·ence \ˈde-fə-rəns, ˈde-frəns\

Definition of DEFERENCE for Kids

:  respect and consideration for the wishes of another


Next Word in the Dictionary: deferentPrevious Word in the Dictionary: defer All Words Near: deference
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears