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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for deferentially
Historical Examples
  • But by this time the marquis was speechless, and François, taking the valise in hand, deferentially left the room.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • He bowed to her as deferentially as to a sultana, when he made his answer.

    Theo Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • "Home," said the genial banker, as he deferentially questioned the Lady of the Silver Bungalow.

    A Fascinating Traitor Richard Henry Savage
  • She came in, deferentially; yet with a quiet dignity of manner.

    The Mistress of Shenstone Florence L. Barclay
  • “Ay bane looking for your razor, kiddo,” said Hulda deferentially.

    The Shriek Charles Somerville
  • "Mathilde will be here in a moment," said Caron deferentially.

    The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini
  • With Tosca Scarpia begins his interview quietly, deferentially.

  • Jim looked at her deferentially, as he passed, a hand ready for his hat.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • “I am aware of your peculiar views, sir,” the young doctor put in deferentially, yet with a certain impatience.

    The Wolves of God Algernon Blackwood
  • He said deferentially in the first place that he was not a savage.

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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