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[kuh n-fur] /kənˈfɜr/
verb (used without object), conferred, conferring.
to consult together; compare opinions; carry on a discussion or deliberation.
verb (used with object), conferred, conferring.
to bestow upon as a gift, favor, honor, etc.:
to confer a degree on a graduate.
Obsolete. to compare.
Origin of confer
late Middle English
1400-50 for earlier sense “to summon”; 1520-30 for current senses; late Middle English conferen < Latin conferre to bring together, compare, consult with, equivalent to con- con- + ferre to carry, bear1
Related forms
conferment, noun
conferrable, adjective
conferrer, noun
nonconferrable, adjective
preconfer, verb (used without object), preconferred, preconferring.
reconfer, verb, reconferred, reconferring.
unconferred, adjective
well-conferred, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See consult. 2. See give. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for conferring
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is now stirred by gratitude and again by the conferring of favours.

  • You can hardly form a conception of the favor you are conferring upon me.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • In conferring that name, we are aware that the future citizens of the place have claims upon us.

    Aladdin & Co. Herbert Quick
  • The faces of those who were not conferring together were pale and perturbed.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • Accolade, a gentle blow with a sword on the shoulder in conferring knighthood.

    The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood
  • She was not so fond of conferring happiness, nor so capable of self-sacrifice.

    Hubert's Wife Minnie Mary Lee
  • These reports must be lying on your desk while you are conferring with Weatherly.

    In the Days of Poor Richard Irving Bacheller
British Dictionary definitions for conferring


verb -fers, -ferring, -ferred
(transitive; foll by on or upon) to grant or bestow (an honour, gift, etc)
(intransitive) to hold or take part in a conference or consult together
(transitive) an obsolete word for compare
Derived Forms
conferment, conferral, noun
conferrable, adjective
conferrer, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin conferre to gather together, compare, from com- together + ferre to bring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conferring



1530s, from Middle French conférer (14c.) "to give, converse, compare," from Latin conferre "to bring together," figuratively "to compare; consult, deliberate, talk over," from com- "together" (see com-) + ferre "to bear" (see infer). Sense of "taking counsel" led to conference. The meaning "compare" (common 1530-1650) is largely obsolete, but the abbreviation cf. still is used in this sense. Related: Conferred; conferring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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