differ

verb dif·fer \ ˈdi-fər \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of differ

differed; differing play \-f(ə-)riŋ\
1 a : to be unlike or distinct in nature, form, or characteristics
  • the law of one state differs from that of another
b : to change from time to time or from one instance to another : vary
  • the number of cookies in a box may differ
2 : to be of unlike or opposite opinion : disagree
  • they differ on religious matters
  • I beg to differ with your interpretation.

Examples of differ in a Sentence

  1. The two schools differ in their approach to discipline.

  2. my brother and I differ markedly in the way we handle money

Recent Examples of differ from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'differ.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of differ

Middle English differren, differen, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French differer "to be different," borrowed (with conjugational change) from Latin differre "to carry away in varying directions, spread abroad, postpone, delay, be unlike or distinct," from dif-, assimilated form of dis- dis- + ferre "to carry, convey"
Note: The meanings of Latin differre, in particular the sense "to be unlike or distinct," copy those of Greek diaphérein, formed with the cognate verb phérein "to carry.' English differ is not distinct etymologically from 1defer; the two were originally variants with stress on either the first or last syllable, with the meanings "delay" and "be unlike" eventually being restricted to one of the two variants.



DIFFER Defined for English Language Learners

differ

Definition of differ for English Language Learners

  • : to be different

  • : to have opinions that don't agree


DIFFER Defined for Kids

differ

verb dif·fer \ ˈdi-fər \

Definition of differ for Students

differed; differing
1 : to be unlike : be different
  • “And so, as we differ from all ordinary people, let us become friends.”
  • —L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
2 : disagree 1
  • We differ on how best to proceed.


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