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[def-uh-ren-shuh l] /ˌdɛf əˈrɛn ʃəl/
showing deference; deferent; respectful.
Origin of deferential
1815-25; after deference, by analogy with such pairs as residence: residential
Related forms
deferentially, adverb
nondeferential, adjective
nondeferentially, adverb
overdeferential, adjective
overdeferentially, adverb
undeferential, adjective
undeferentially, adverb
courteous, regardful, dutiful, obedient, reverential. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for deferentially
Historical Examples
  • "I feel as sure as can be, sir, that it was not Mr. Arthur Channing," he deferentially said.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • "Mathilde will be here in a moment," said Caron deferentially.

    The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini
  • Jim looked at her deferentially, as he passed, a hand ready for his hat.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • He said deferentially in the first place that he was not a savage.

  • "I hope we shall, squire," said the poor relative, deferentially.

    The Young Miner Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • He bowed humbly and deferentially, and retired to the steps and his cigarette.

    Jerry Jean Webster
  • He bowed to her as deferentially as to a sultana, when he made his answer.

    Theo Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • She came in, deferentially; yet with a quiet dignity of manner.

    The Mistress of Shenstone Florence L. Barclay
  • “Breakfast, Sahib,” said Rao, deferentially touching his arm.

    The Place of Honeymoons Harold MacGrath
  • Two or three bystanders eyed me deferentially, as a probable expert.

    On the Stairs Henry B. Fuller
British Dictionary definitions for deferentially


marked by or showing deference or respect; respectful
Derived Forms
deferentially, adverb
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 deferentially



1822, from deferent + -ial; as a word in anatomy, from 1877. Related: Deferentially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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deferentially in Medicine

deferential def·er·en·tial (děf'ə-rěn'shəl)
Of or relating to the vas deferens.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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