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[dih-fur] /dɪˈfɜr/
verb (used without object), deferred, deferring.
to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion (usually followed by to):
We all defer to him in these matters.
verb (used with object), deferred, deferring.
to submit for decision; refer:
We defer questions of this kind to the president.
Origin of defer2
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English deferren < Latin dēferre to carry from or down, report, accuse, equivalent to dē- de- + ferre to bear1
1. accede, submit, acquiesce, capitulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for defer-to


verb -fers, -ferring, -ferred
(transitive) to delay or cause to be delayed until a future time; postpone
Derived Forms
deferrable, deferable, adjective
deferrer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French differer to be different, postpone; see differ


verb -fers, -ferring, -ferred
(intransitive) foll by to. to yield (to) or comply (with) the wishes or judgments of another: I defer to your superior knowledge
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dēferre, literally: to bear down, from de- + ferre to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for defer-to



"to delay," late 14c., differren, deferren, from Old French differer (14c.), from Latin differre "carry apart, scatter, disperse;" also "be different, differ;" also "defer, put off, postpone," (see differ). Etymologically identical with differ; the spelling and pronunciation differentiated from 15c., perhaps partly by association of this word with delay.

"yield," mid-15c., from Middle French déférer (14c.) "to yield, comply," from Latin deferre "carry away, transfer, grant," from de- "down, away" (see de-) + ferre "carry" (see infer). Main modern sense is from meaning "refer (a matter) to someone," which also was in Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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