verb con·fer \kən-ˈfər\

Definition of confer



  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to compare views or take counsel :  consult

  3. transitive verb
  4. 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>

  5. 2 :  to give (as a property or characteristic) to someone or something <a reputation for power will confer power — John Spanier>


play \-ˈfər-mənt\ noun


play \-ˈfər-ə-bəl\ adjective


play \-ˈfər-əl\ noun


play \-ˈfər-ər\ noun

Examples of confer in a sentence

  1. The cameleers … conferred with each other about the safest path across. —Greg Child, Mixed Emotions: Mountaineering Writings of Greg Child, 1993

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. The lawyer and judge conferred about the ruling.

  5. <the British monarch continues to confer knighthood on those who are outstanding in their fields of endeavor>

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

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 Defined for English Language Learners


verb con·fer \kən-ˈfər\

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


verb con·fer \kən-ˈfər\

Definition of confer for Students



  1. 1 :  bestow, present <Many honors were conferred upon her at graduation.>

  2. 2 :  to compare views especially in studying a problem <The umpires decided to confer with one another.>

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

What made you want to look up confer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to trick or confuse (someone)

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