differ

verb
dif·​fer | \ ˈdi-fər How to pronounce differ (audio) \
differed; differing\ ˈdi-​f(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce differing (audio) \

Definition of differ

intransitive verb

1a : 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.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for differ

Synonyms

contrast, vary

Antonyms

compare, match

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Examples of differ in a Sentence

The two schools differ in their approach to discipline. my brother and I differ markedly in the way we handle money

Recent Examples on the Web

The protest today, however, differed in that the scene of the violence shifted from the streets to the mall, which is flanked by some of Hong Kong’s biggest residential housing complexes. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong police fight protesters in a luxury shopping mall," 14 July 2019 Where O’Rourke and Castro differ, and where Castro accused his rival of failing to do his homework on immigration policy, is that O’Rourke wants to keep the legal deterrent on the books for use later, once Trump and his excesses are gone. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Julian Castro would repeal illegal entry as a crime. Is that an 'open borders' policy?," 6 July 2019 The three restaurants differ in menu and vibe, but one element is consistent throughout: chili oil. Amber Turpin, The Mercury News, "Make your own Sichuan chili oil with tips from an SF Chinatown chef," 22 June 2019 Misalignment happens when the lines on digital maps made by two sources differ slightly about where things like roads and buildings lie, according to Henry Luan, a professor of geography at the University of Oregon. Jeff Ernsthausen, ProPublica, "One Trump Tax Cut Was Meant to Help the Poor. A Billionaire Ended Up Winning Big.," 19 June 2019 Statute of limitation rules differ, and are being tested. Martha Mendoza, The Denver Post, "As bishops gather, prosecutors step up scrutiny of Catholic Church," 11 June 2019 Symptoms can be subtle and not overly painful—and women’s symptoms may differ from men’s. Donna Blass, Health.com, "I Had a Perfectly Normal EKG at My Check-Up—and the Next Day I Had a Heart Attack," 7 June 2019 One person's complexion (i.e., skin type, tone, and texture) can greatly differ from another's. Allure, "7 Skin-Care Product Winners From the 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 14 May 2019 From there, western and eastern churches differ a bit: In western Christian churches, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (the 7th Wednesday before Easter) and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Lent? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 11 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of differ

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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 defer entry 1; 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.

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Statistics for differ

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for differ

The first known use of differ was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for differ

differ

verb

English Language Learners Definition of differ

: to be different
: to have opinions that don't agree

differ

verb
dif·​fer | \ ˈdi-fər How to pronounce differ (audio) \
differed; differing

Kids Definition of differ

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 sense 1 We differ on how best to proceed.

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More from Merriam-Webster on differ

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for differ

Spanish Central: Translation of differ

Nglish: Translation of differ for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of differ for Arabic Speakers

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