: respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes
Did You Know?
We need to be specific when we tell you that deference and defer both derive from the Medieval Latin dēferre, which means "to convey, show respect, submit to a decision," because there are two defers in the English language. The defer related to deference is typically used with to in contexts having to do either with allowing someone else to decide or choose something, as in "I'll defer to the experts," or with agreeing to follow someone else's decision, wish, etc., as when a court defers to precedent. The other defer traces to the Latin differre, meaning "to carry away in varying directions, spread abroad, postpone, delay, be unlike or distinct." That defer is typically used in contexts having to do with delaying or postponing something, as in "a willingness to defer the decision until next month."
"The 41-page filing answered government arguments that appeals rules give trial judges a lot of deference to make findings about facts, such as whether a juror is following court rules." — Steve Patterson, The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Florida), 19 Jan. 2021
"'Where once he was a youthful firebrand,' Mr. Peterson said, Mr. Museveni 'now speaks as an elder, reminding his people about the virtues of the old culture, demanding deference, excoriating the decadence of the young.'" — Abdi Latif Dahir, The New York Times, 16 Jan. 2021
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of deference: r _ _ _ r _ _ ce.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP