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



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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 opinions expressed on Twitter and elsewhere would beg to differ. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "How many streaming services would you pay for? Three more services want your money," 16 May 2020 Information on deaths in those counties differed on the state site on Thursday, showing fewer than three deaths for each of the two counties. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Arizona coronavirus update: 9,945 confirmed cases, 450 known deaths as of Thursday," 7 May 2020 The date when restrictions on non-essential travel will be lifted could differ from one area to another. Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg.com, "Only 20% of French See Le Pen Handling Crisis Better, Poll Shows," 5 May 2020 Ohio's Republican Secretary of State begs to differ. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "All eyes on Ohio: Nation will learn from Ohio's success or failure on Election Day," 26 Apr. 2020 But their kids — Michael, Lola, and Joaquin — beg to differ. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos's Kids Have Strong Thoughts About Their Dad's New Mustache," 24 Apr. 2020 Sir Philip Rutnam, who on February 29th resigned as permanent secretary to the Home Office after a 33-year career, begs to differ. The Economist, "Politicians and civil servants Priti Patel’s bust-up at the Home Office," 5 Mar. 2020 McCain, however, begged to differ and shared her feelings on her own platform. Elly Belle, refinery29.com, "The Progressive Squad Is Coming For Meghan McCain’s Bernie Tweets," 21 Feb. 2020 Briefly: Houston manager Dusty Baker has called for MLB to take pre-emptive steps to assure teams don’t take aim at his hitters as retribution for the Astros sign-stealing scandal, but Rangers manager Chris Woodward begs to differ. Dallas News, "How the Rangers are preparing for Globe Life Field’s synthetic playing surface during spring training," 16 Feb. 2020

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

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Differ.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differ. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for differ


How to pronounce differ (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of differ

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


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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Spanish Central: Translation of differ

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Britannica English: Translation of differ for Arabic Speakers

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