1

defer

play
verb de·fer \ di-ˈfər \

Definition of defer

deferred; deferring
transitive verb
2 :to postpone induction of (a person) into military service

deferrer

noun

defer was our Word of the Day on 01/10/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of defer in a Sentence

  1. Backers say the arrangement will make patients more cost-conscious and judicious in their use of medical service, thus restraining health-cost increases; critics say it will cause patients to defer needed treatment and will be attractive only to younger, healthier workers. Wall Street Journal9 Jan. 2006
  2. A far stronger signal came when the draft was revived, shortly before the United States entered World War II. Although married men with families were eligible for induction, in many cases up to the age of forty, high school students were automatically deferred. —Thomas HineAmerican HeritageSeptember 1999
  3. The decision was deferred for a time. John didn't want to do anything drastic until after October … —Joe KleinPayback1984

Recent Examples of defer from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of defer

Middle English deferren, differren, from Middle French differer, from Latin differre to postpone, be different — more at differ

Synonym Discussion of defer

defer, postpone, suspend, stay mean to delay an action or proceeding. defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time.
    • deferred buying a car until spring
postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time.
    • the game is postponed until Saturday
suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied.
    • business will be suspended while repairs are under way
stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority.
    • the governor stayed the execution

2

defer

play
verb de·fer \ di-ˈfər \

Definition of defer

deferred; deferring
transitive verb
:to delegate to another
  • he could defer his job to no one
  • —J. A. Michener
intransitive verb
:to submit to another's wishes, opinion, or governance usually through deference or respect
  • deferred to her father's wishes

Examples of defer in a Sentence

  1. But in 1775, when William chose loyalty to empire over deference to his father, Franklin abruptly, angrily, and permanently broke with his son. Despite having defied his own father (in leaving Boston), Franklin pulled patriarchal rank to demand that his son defer to his politics: "there are natural duties which precede political ones, and cannot be extinguished by them." —Alan TaylorNew Republic13 Jan. 2003
  2. Israelis can be harsh with each other, but they defer to the security guards who check their backpacks at the mall entrances. They put their faith in the Army. —David BrooksNewsweek22 Oct. 2001

Recent Examples of defer from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of defer

Middle English deferren, differren, from Middle French deferer, defferer, from Late Latin deferre, from Latin, to bring down, bring, from de- + ferre to carry — more at bear

Synonym Discussion of defer

yield, submit, capitulate, succumb, relent, defer mean to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist. yield may apply to any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty.
    • yields too easily in any argument
submit suggests full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another.
    • a repentant sinner vowing to submit to the will of God
capitulate stresses the fact of ending all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms (as with an adversary) or hopelessness in the face of an irresistible opposing force.
    • officials capitulated to the protesters' demands
succumb implies weakness and helplessness to the one that gives way or an overwhelming power to the opposing force.
    • a stage actor succumbing to the lure of Hollywood
relent implies a yielding through pity or mercy by one who holds the upper hand.
    • finally relented and let the children stay up late
defer implies a voluntary yielding or submitting out of respect or reverence for or deference and affection toward another.
    • I defer to your expertise in these matters


DEFER Defined for Kids

1

defer

play
verb de·fer \ di-ˈfər \

Definition of defer for Students

deferred; deferring
:to put off to a future time :postpone
  • The test is deferred to next week.

2

defer

verb

Definition of defer for Students

deferred; deferring
:to give in or yield to the opinion or wishes of another


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