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 Information in tax and loan filings can differ for legitimate reasons, experts said. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Trump Tax Records Reveal New Inconsistencies — This Time for Trump Tower," 27 Nov. 2019 This gives an on-the-ground sense of voter sentiment, which might differ significantly from polling data or man on the street interviews. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "The 2020 Iowa Caucuses Won’t Decide Who Will Be President—But They Will Decide Who Won’t," 26 Nov. 2019 The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking Mideast minority whose monotheistic religion differs from Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Güneş Murat Tezcür, The Conversation, "5 years after Islamic State massacre, an Iraqi minority is transformed by trauma," 26 Nov. 2019 Here again, the results differed from site to site, by the type of cells exposed, and by the genes and proteins examined. Robin Lloyd, Scientific American, "Health Concerns Mount as More Old Sewer Pipes Are Lined with Plastic," 25 Nov. 2019 The first big confrontation came when Booker differed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Author: Aaron Blake, Anchorage Daily News, "Winners and losers from the latest Democratic debate," 21 Nov. 2019 Really, the time-shift is key to how book and film differ: Lethem’s novel is a knowingly pastiche-y take on detective fiction, while Norton offers a more openly sincere film-noir throwback. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "7 books to read this Oscar season before you see the movie," 21 Nov. 2019 Owners need to be aware of their pet’s body language signals and correctly interpret signs of stress, submission, and aggression that can differ from species to species. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Many factors to consider when thinking about adding a new pet," 16 Nov. 2019 Two months ago, Google struck a similar partnership with Mayo Clinic that differed in one key respect: Executives with both organizations emphasized to a STAT reporter that any data accessed by Google for analysis would be anonymized. Casey Ross, STAT, "In a ‘Wild West’ environment, hospitals differ sharply in what patient data they give Google," 15 Nov. 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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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 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Differ.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differing?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=differ02. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on differ

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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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a period of high artistic development

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