Definition of confer
: to compare views or take counsel : consult
1 : to bestow from or as if from a position of superiority conferred an honorary degree on her knowing how to read was a gift conferred with manhood — Murray Kempton
2 : to give (as a property or characteristic) to someone or something a reputation for power will confer power — John Spanier
confermentplay \-ˈfər-mənt\ noun
conferrableplay \-ˈfər-ə-bəl\ adjective
conferralplay \-ˈfər-əl\ noun
conferrerplay \-ˈfər-ər\ noun
Examples of confer in a sentence
The cameleers … conferred with each other about the safest path across. —Greg Child, Mixed Emotions: Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child, 1993
It was a traditional compliment to be whinged at by an Englishman. It was his way of saying he trusted you, he was conferring upon you the privilege of getting to know the real him. —Margaret Atwood, New Yorker, 5 Mar.1990
He liked the ease and glitter of the life, and the lustre conferred on him by being a member of this group of rich and conspicuous people. —Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth, 1905
The lawyer and judge conferred about the ruling.
the British monarch continues to confer knighthood on those who are outstanding in their fields of endeavor
confer vs. consult
Confer and consult are very closely related in meaning, and each has senses that are synonymous with the other’s. But as is so often the case with near-synonyms, there are contexts in which one word is preferable to the other.
If you confer with someone, it is entirely possible that you will be seeking advice, but you could also simply be having a discussion (“they conferred privately before making a decision”). If you are consulting someone or something, it is more likely that you are seeking advice (“he consulted his doctor before deciding on a course of treatment”). Consult is unambiguously the correct choice when one is seeking guidance or information from a non-human source; you would consult (not confer with) a dictionary for information on a word.
The sense of confer that is concerned with giving something (as in, “education confers many benefits”) is not shared by consult.
Origin and Etymology of confer
Latin conferre to bring together, from com- + ferre to carry — more at bear
First Known Use: circa 1500
Synonym Discussion of confer
CONFER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of confer for English Language Learners
: to discuss something important in order to make a decision
: to give (something, such as a degree, award, title, right, etc.) to someone or something
CONFER Defined for Kids
Word Root of confer
The Latin word ferre, meaning “to carry” or “to bring,” gives us the root fer. Words from the Latin ferre have something to do with carrying. To transfer is to carry across from one person, place, or condition to another. To confer is to bring something to someone in order to present it. To offer is to bring forth for another to accept or reject. To prefer is to carry a stronger liking for one over another.
Seen and Heard
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