def·​er·​en·​tial | \ ˌde-fə-ˈren-chəl How to pronounce deferential (audio) \

Definition of deferential

: showing or expressing respect and high regard due a superior or an elder : showing or expressing deference listened with deferential attention to his grandfather deferential to the judge's decision

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Other Words from deferential

deferentially \ ˌde-​fə-​ˈren-​chə-​lē How to pronounce deferentially (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for deferential



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Examples of deferential in a Sentence

the man had the deferential attitude of someone who had been a servant his entire life
Recent Examples on the Web In fact, this looks a bit different than some of the Heat's Wade teams, with Jimmy Butler more deferential and the team operating with more of an ensemble approach. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Has the Heat’s future come into view?," 2 Nov. 2019 In the presence of alpha male figures including former chief of staff and DHS secretary John Kelly, or current acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan, Miller tends to be more deferential, longtime observers say. al, "How Stephen Miller controls Trump’s immigration policy," 18 Aug. 2019 Since that time, Bridenstine has been much more deferential to the SLS rocket. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA chief alienates Senators needed to fund the Moon program," 16 Aug. 2019 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them last year, adopting a deferential level of review toward the city. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court’s First Major Gun Case in a Decade," 14 Aug. 2019 At each one, my father got out of the car, and was extremely deferential. Sanna Wani, Time, "I Was in Kashmir When India Seized Control. This Is What I Saw," 7 Aug. 2019 Along those lines, federal law instructs judges to be highly deferential to the decision-making of arbitrators. Michael Mccann,, "Breaking Down What to Expect After Riquna Williams's 10-Game Suspension by the WNBA," 18 July 2019 Bahrami oversaw the creation of the FAA office that certified the Max, and he was criticized by some in the regulator for being too deferential to Boeing. David Gelles,, "Families of Boeing crash victims seek a full review of the 737 Max," 7 Aug. 2019 There was the woman standing at the back of an airplane, waiting to use the restroom, who spied Esposito behind her and insisted — with deferential politeness and fear — that Esposito go first. Los Angeles Times, "If you ask ‘Better Call Saul’s’ Giancarlo Esposito for a selfie, be prepared to take two," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deferential.' 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 deferential

1822, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deferential

defer(ence) + -ential, by analogy with other Latin-derived words where the suffixes -ence and -ential imply one another (as prudence, prudential)

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Statistics for deferential

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for deferential

The first known use of deferential was in 1822

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def·​er·​en·​tial | \ ˌdef-ə-ˈren-chəl How to pronounce deferential (audio) \

Medical Definition of deferential

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Comments on deferential

What made you want to look up deferential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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