Simple Definition of deference
: a way of behaving that shows respect for someone or something
Examples of deference in a sentence
Deference to leaders and intolerance toward outsiders (and toward “enemies within”) are hallmarks of tribalism … —Benjamin R. Barber, Atlantic, March 1992
In the 1980s, in deference to the neighborhoods, City Hall would attempt a counter-reformation of downtown, forbidding “Manhattanization.” —Richard Rodriguez, Harper's, October 1990
She could have subtly appealed to the deference … she knew was still in there, encoded in their middle-aged hearts; she never did. —Peggy Noonan, New York Times Magazine, 16 Dec. 1990
A sense of deference to the upper class among whites made it possible, in Sproat's estimation, for white leaders to contain the white supremacists. —Robert L. Harris, Jr., American Historical Review, December 1987
Her relatives treat one another with deference.
He is shown much deference by his colleagues.
Did You Know?
The words deference and defer both derive from the Latin deferre, which means "to bring down" or "to carry away." At the same time you might also hear that defer traces to the Latin differre, which means "to postpone" or "to differ." Which root is right? Both. That's because English has two verbs, or homographs, spelled defer. One means "to submit or delegate to another" (as in "I defer to your greater expertise"). That's the one that is closely related to deference and that comes from deferre. The other means "to put off or delay" (as in "we decided to defer the decision until next month"); that second defer derives from differre.
Origin and Etymology of deference
First Known Use: 1660
Synonym Discussion of deference
Rhymes with deference
DEFERENCE Defined for Kids
Definition of deference for Students
: respect and consideration for the wishes of another
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up deference? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).