confer

verb
con·​fer | \ kən-ˈfər How to pronounce confer (audio) \
conferred; conferring

Definition of confer

intransitive verb

: to compare views or take counsel : consult

transitive verb

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 (something, such as a property or characteristic) to someone or something a reputation for power will confer power— John Spanier

Other Words from confer

conferment \ kən-​ˈfər-​mənt How to pronounce confer (audio) \ noun
conferrable \ kən-​ˈfər-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce confer (audio) \ adjective
conferral \ kən-​ˈfər-​əl How to pronounce confer (audio) \ noun
conferrer \ kən-​ˈfər-​ər How to pronounce confer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for confer

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for confer

give, present, donate, bestow, confer, afford mean to convey to another as a possession. give, the general term, is applicable to any passing over of anything by any means. give alms gave her a ride on a pony give my love to your mother present carries a note of formality and ceremony. present an award donate is likely to imply a publicized giving (as to charity). donate a piano to the orphanage bestow implies the conveying of something as a gift and may suggest condescension on the part of the giver. bestow unwanted advice confer implies a gracious giving (as of a favor or honor). confer an honorary degree afford implies a giving or bestowing usually as a natural or legitimate consequence of the character of the giver. the trees afford shade a development that affords us some hope

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.

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 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 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 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
Recent Examples on the Web The revelation comes as President Biden prepares to depart for the Middle East, where he is expected to confer with key allies on a unified regional policy toward Iran. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 But the things that allow the cars to go fast—the properties that confer this fitness advantage—seem to have changed over time. Sara Reardon, Scientific American, 28 June 2022 The lees are kept in suspension through weekly bâtonnages that confer body and roundness to the wine. John Mariani, Forbes, 16 May 2022 The American Board of Medical Specialties — which represents boards that confer certification in several surgical fields — last year changed its recommendations to suggest certifying boards should accommodate residents who take parental leaves. Miriam Shuchman, STAT, 9 May 2022 And while those three buildings are all famous in their own rights, for new towers that lack name recognition like One Vanderbilt, developed by SL Green, and 30 Hudson Yards, developed by Related, an observation deck could help confer it. Kim Velsey, Curbed, 28 Oct. 2021 Judge Koeltl granted a request from Mr. Hayes’s defense team that he be allowed to confer with Messrs. Delo and Reed. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 20 May 2022 After taking a couple of minutes to confer with his lawyer, Walter agreed to a higher sentence. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 16 May 2022 Ping used to stop by his parents’ home every morning to confer with Ming about the discrepancies. Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of confer

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for confer

borrowed from Latin conferō, conferre "to bring or take, convey, bestow, bring together, unite," from con- con- + ferō, ferre "to carry, bear" — more at bear entry 2

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Time Traveler for confer

Time Traveler

The first known use of confer was circa 1500

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Dictionary Entries Near confer

confederator

confer

conferee

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Statistics for confer

Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Confer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confer. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for confer

confer

verb
con·​fer | \ kən-ˈfər How to pronounce confer (audio) \
conferred; conferring

Kids Definition of confer

1 : bestow, present Many honors were conferred upon her at graduation.
2 : to compare views especially in studying a problem The umpires decided to confer with one another.

More from Merriam-Webster on confer

Nglish: Translation of confer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confer for Arabic Speakers

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