[kuh n-fur]

verb (used without object), con·ferred, con·fer·ring.

to consult together; compare opinions; carry on a discussion or deliberation.

verb (used with object), con·ferred, con·fer·ring.

to bestow upon as a gift, favor, honor, etc.: to confer a degree on a graduate.
Obsolete. to compare.

Origin of confer

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 formscon·fer·ment, nouncon·fer·ra·ble, adjectivecon·fer·rer, nounnon·con·fer·ra·ble, adjectivepre·con·fer, verb (used without object), pre·con·ferred, pre·con·fer··con·fer, verb, re·con·ferred, re·con·fer·ring.un·con·ferred, adjectivewell-con·ferred, adjective

Synonym study

1. See consult. 2. See give. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for conferring

Contemporary Examples of conferring

  • One evening, they found Sanjay and his friends “conferring” with two women in a hotel room near the slum.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hold Onto Your Penis

    David Frum, Justin Green

    November 29, 2012

  • Various countries are conferring about how to solve that problem.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Forgotten Lives of Refugees

    Christopher Dickey

    June 19, 2012

  • Pinault, gray-flannelled and black-shoed, was conferring at the next-door table with an adviser, Philippe Segalot.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Biennale Favorites

    Anthony Haden-Guest

    June 8, 2009

Historical Examples of conferring

  • It came to me like a flash as the Emperor was conferring the honours upon me.

  • Each day he alleged the necessity of conferring with the woman.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • One would think I had come to ask a favor instead of conferring one.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And in the conferring of such benefits he was disposed to think he could outbid the world.



  • Evidently he was conferring with someone else, probably Ku Sui.

British Dictionary definitions for conferring


verb -fers, -ferring or -ferred

(tr; foll by on or upon) to grant or bestow (an honour, gift, etc)
(intr) to hold or take part in a conference or consult together
(tr) an obsolete word for compare
Derived Formsconferment or conferral, nounconferrable, adjectiveconferrer, noun

Word Origin for confer

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

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