deferential

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deferential

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for deferential

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Multiple investigations found issues with the process that the FAA followed for certifying that the newest version of Boeing’s 737 was safe, while raising questions about whether the agency was too deferential to the manufacturer. Author: Ian Duncan, Lori Aratani, Anchorage Daily News, "Boeing ‘inappropriately coached’ FAA test pilots during review of 737 Max after deadly crashes, Senate investigators say," 19 Dec. 2020 Multiple investigations found issues with the process that the FAA followed for certifying that the newest version of Boeing’s 737 was safe, while raising questions about whether the agency was too deferential to the manufacturer. Washington Post, "Boeing ‘inappropriately coached’ test pilots during review of 737 Max after crashes, Senate investigators say," 18 Dec. 2020 By contrast, the state supreme court was less deferential — especially the three dissenters, led by the tribunal’s chief justice, Patience D. Roggensack. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Biden Won Wisconsin, but It Was Even Closer Than Reported," 17 Dec. 2020 He has also been been markedly deferential to Russian President Vladimir Putin, appearing to accept the autocratic leader’s word over that of U.S. intelligence agencies. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Trump finds himself isolated in refusal to blame Russia for big cyberattack," 20 Dec. 2020 In an interview with NPR, Baquet said editors accustomed to print pieces were deferential to an ambitious audio team presenting a compelling narrative yarn. David Bauder, ajc, "New York Times: ‘Caliphate’ podcast didn’t meet standards," 18 Dec. 2020 The jurists of yesteryear tended to be deferential to executive power, having come up through the Beltway system at a time when Republicans dominated the presidency and Democrats usually controlled Congress. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Biden’s Court Problem," 17 Dec. 2020 As Segal and others pointed out, however, wielding these tactics as a credible threat could force McConnell to be more deferential to Biden’s cabinet appointees—as was the custom for centuries. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, "The Brewing Democratic Fight Over Biden’s Cabinet," 15 Nov. 2020 Judge Michael Park, writing in dissent, argued that the panel had been too deferential towards the state’s restrictions. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Versus the Coronavirus," 17 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deferential

Time Traveler for deferential

Time Traveler

The first known use of deferential was in 1822

See more words from the same year

Statistics for deferential

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deferential.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deferential. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deferential

deferential

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

Medical Definition of deferential

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!