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

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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 In deference to Wallace, there’s no wholesome, consensus journalistic approach to dealing with top U.S. officials who have become serially mendacious. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 Moreover, rituals give us comfort and help the body and mind feel at ease in deference to times of uncertainty. Ellevate, Forbes, 27 May 2021 That marks something of a shift from his predecessor, an active-duty general who made explicit his deference to Bolsonaro’s wishes on health policy. BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2021 That marks a shift from his predecessor, an active-duty general who made explicit his deference to Bolsonaro's wishes on health policy. David Biller, Star Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 In deference to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony on ABC was moved back a few months from its usual dead-of-winter start. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2021 The statement issued Friday afternoon praised Sudan’s transitional government and did not mention the terror list issue, in apparent deference to the wishes of Sudan’s leaders to soften the public appearance of a quid pro quo. Anne Gearan, Steve Hendrix, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Oct. 2020 Cleveland, but MidTown changed the name out of deference to Native American sensibilities. Steven Litt, cleveland, 2 May 2021 But as Sarah Wire reported, California Democrats are taking a softer line on the SALT proposal than their eastern counterparts, largely out of deference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for deference

Time Traveler

The first known use of deference was in 1660

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Statistics for deference

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deference.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deference. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for deference

deference

noun

English Language Learners Definition of deference

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

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

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