deference

noun
def·er·ence | \ˈde-fə-rən(t)s, ˈdef-rən(t)s\

Definition of deference 

: respect and esteem due a superior or an elder also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes

in deference to

: in consideration of returned early in deference to her parents' wishes

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Choose the Right Synonym for deference

honor, homage, reverence, deference mean respect and esteem shown to another. honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition. the nomination is an honor homage adds the implication of accompanying praise. paying homage to Shakespeare reverence implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe. great reverence for my father deference implies a yielding or submitting to another's judgment or preference out of respect or reverence. showed no deference to their elders

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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The combination of intraparty pressure and norms of deference to presidential appointments seem destined to overwhelm their (supposed) substantive beliefs. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "How Democrats Plan to Turn Kennedy’s Retirement Into a Political Win," 3 July 2018 However, federal judges are required under the law to provide a high degree of deference to arbitration awards and therefore judges usually do not vacate those awards. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Breaking Down Kevin Ollie's Case Against UConn and the University's Likely Defenses," 29 June 2018 But reflecting deference to Trump, every GOP senator voted to confirm Brian Benczkowski as the new head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 2018 Both sides have been firmly entrenched, even as NBA commissioner Adam Silver has suggested that travel, and not a deference to tradition, represents the main obstacle to adopting a top-16 playoff format that eschews conference designations. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "2018 NBA Free Agency: The Early Winners And Losers," 5 July 2018 Collins said, referring to the judicial principle that affords strong deference to previous court rulings. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Trump has expanded Supreme Court shortlist amid pressure from pro-choice advocates, GOP senator claims," 1 July 2018 In apparent deference to Mr Erdogan, Turkey’s central bank has long refrained from raising the one-week repo rate, which had served as its monetary mainstay. The Economist, "Turkey’s central bank has streamlined its fight against inflation," 31 May 2018 Despite his deference to the chain of command, McMaster was not a company man in the narrow sense that the Army wanted. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "McMaster and Commander," 23 Apr. 2018 But the intersection of the First Amendment and public education is a tricky crossroads, one complicated by decades of confusing Supreme Court case law and a frequent deference to school officials who favor order and control above all else. Will Nevin, OregonLive.com, "WW #96: Students, comics and a student speech comic," 16 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of deference

1660, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deference

borrowed from French déférence, going back to Middle French deference "act of submitting," from deferer "to submit to another, defer entry 2" + -ence -ence

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Statistics for deference

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deference

The first known use of deference was in 1660

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More Definitions for deference

deference

noun

English Language Learners Definition of deference

: a way of behaving that shows respect for someone or something

deference

noun
def·er·ence | \ˈde-fə-rəns, ˈde-frəns\

Kids Definition of deference

: respect and consideration for the wishes of another

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Comments on deference

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