Definition of deference
- returned early in deference to her parents' wishes
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Her relatives treat one another with deference.
He is shown much deference by his colleagues.
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.
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.
What made you want to look up deference? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
having a quality expressive of sadness
Get Word of the Day daily email!