differ

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

Antonyms

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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 Sheriff’s offices differ from police departments in that police chiefs are usually appointed and sheriffs are typically elected. Washington Post, "Most police departments in America are small. That’s partly why changing policing is difficult, experts say.," 8 May 2021 Statistics on fatalities differ, depending on the source, because of various ways deaths are tracked and defined. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "'I cried for the next 10 days': Award-winning investigative journalist discusses domestic violence during fundraiser for San Antonio shelter," 7 May 2021 Experts differ on exactly why, though it's known that men commit over 90% homicides in general. Rebecca Boone And Lindsay Whitehurst, Star Tribune, "Idaho shooting: Very few school incidents committed by girls," 7 May 2021 The latest charges against Mr. Chauvin differ from the state case against him that resulted in a guilty verdict last month. New York Times, "Former Police Officers Indicted on Civil Rights Charges in George Floyd’s Death," 7 May 2021 The post-shot reactions differ from a very rare kind of side effect that led to a pause in administration of the J&J vaccine. BostonGlobe.com, "US officials: Anxiety drove vaccine reactions in 5 states," 30 Apr. 2021 The post-shot reactions differ from a very rare kind of side effect that led to a pause in administration of the J&J vaccine. NBC News, "Vaccine reactions in 5 states caused by anxiety, CDC finds," 30 Apr. 2021 The post-shot reactions differ from a very rare kind of side effect that led to a pause in administration of the J&J vaccine. Mike Stobbe, Anchorage Daily News, "Anxiety, not vaccine, drove dozens of physical reactions in 5 states, officials believe," 30 Apr. 2021 The two leaders also differ on the best way to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "GOP Leaders Clash on Trump at Annual Retreat," 28 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for differ

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for differ

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Differ.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differ. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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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