Synonym Chooser

How is the word defer distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of defer are postpone, stay, and suspend. While all these words mean "to delay an action or proceeding," defer implies a deliberate putting off to a later time.

deferred buying a car until spring

When could postpone be used to replace defer?

While in some cases nearly identical to defer, postpone implies an intentional deferring usually to a definite time.

the game is postponed until Saturday

When is it sensible to use stay instead of defer?

While the synonyms stay and defer are close in meaning, stay often suggests the stopping or checking by an intervening agency or authority.

the governor stayed the execution

Where would suspend be a reasonable alternative to defer?

The words suspend and defer are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, suspend implies temporary stoppage with an added suggestion of waiting until some condition is satisfied.

business will be suspended while repairs are underway


Thesaurus Entries Near defer

Cite this Entry

“Defer.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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