deference

noun
def·​er·​ence | \ ˈde-fə-rən(t)s How to pronounce deference (audio) , 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

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?

We need to be specific when we tell you that deference and defer both derive from the Medieval Latin dēferre, which means "to convey, show respect, submit to a decision," because there are two defers in the English language. The defer related to deference is typically used with to in contexts having to do either with allowing someone else to decide or choose something, as in "I'll defer to the experts," or with agreeing to follow someone else's decision, wish, etc., as when a court defers to precedent. The other defer traces to the Latin differre, meaning "to carry away in varying directions, spread abroad, postpone, delay, be unlike or distinct." That defer is typically used in contexts having to do with delaying or postponing something, as in "a willingness to defer the decision until next month."

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The White House had signaled its discomfort with Mrs. Pelosi’s trip, but officials said the administration hadn’t asked her not to go, in deference to the separation of powers among different branches of government. Joyu Wang, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2022 Chevron deference allowed the EPA to set national carbon-dioxide standards, the Transportation Department to prescribe automobile safety features and numerous other agencies and departments to regulate virtually every aspect of American life. David B. Rivkin Jr. And Mark Wendell Delaquil, WSJ, 10 July 2022 Meyer: Zooming out, what does this mean for Chevron deference broadly? Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 30 June 2022 The deference Obi-Wan expected from its own supporting cast was asphyxiating. Darren Franich, EW.com, 22 June 2022 On its face, that sounds a lot like the Supreme Court applied Chevron deference. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 20 June 2022 The Chevron deference has long been a target of conservatives, according to Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who worked in the Trump White House. BostonGlobe.com, 19 June 2022 The constitutional dispute is not necessarily political, because Chevron deference applies to agency actions in both Republican and Democratic administrations. New York Times, 19 June 2022 The same deference extends to the subject of the war’s justification. Tara Law, Time, 25 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for deference

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The first known use of deference was in 1660

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Dictionary Entries Near deference

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Deference.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deference. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for deference

deference

noun
def·​er·​ence | \ ˈde-fə-rəns How to pronounce deference (audio) , ˈde-frəns \

Kids Definition of deference

: respect and consideration for the wishes of another

More from Merriam-Webster on deference

Nglish: Translation of deference for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deference for Arabic Speakers

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