to put off (action, consideration, etc.) to a future time: The decision has been deferred by the board until next week.
to exempt temporarily from induction into military service.
to put off action; delay.
Defer and differ were originally the same word, but spellings with def- for etymologically correct dif-, which first appeared in the 15th century, have become standard in part because of the sense “to put off, delay” (absent in differ ), in part because of the accent being on the root (second) syllable, and in part through association with delay .
The meaning “to exempt temporarily from military service” first appeared in 1941.
- de·fer·rer, noun
Other definitions for defer (2 of 2)
to yield respectfully in judgment or opinion (usually followed by to): We all defer to him in these matters.
to submit for decision; refer: We defer questions of this kind to the president.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use defer in a sentence
The only way such changes would occur is if Congress passes a law to forgive the collection of payroll taxes deferred under the order—a move supported by both the President and the signatories of Tuesday’s letter.Business groups don’t expect to implement Trump’s ‘unworkable’ payroll order | Jeff | August 18, 2020 | Fortune
An HHS spokesperson in response to a Washington Blade inquiry on enforcement deferred the Justice Department, which didn’t respond to a request to comment.Judge blocks Trump admin from enforcing anti-trans health care rule | Chris Johnson | August 17, 2020 | Washington Blade
If the number of deferred applicants who queue up to join college in 2021 is significantly larger than usual, that cuts into the number of seats available for new high school graduates.
That dreamy Mediterranean breeze will have to remain a dream deferred.
When sports initially went off air in March, most advertisers deferred the money they had planned to spend on TV sporting events until major sports returned.Shut out of Fire TV and Roku, Peacock is the latest example of the arrival power moves to streaming | Tim Peterson | July 15, 2020 | Digiday
Or will we simply see more senseless bloodshed and another generation of Palestinians defer their dreams of a homeland?In the Middle East, the Two-State Solution Is Dead | Dean Obeidallah | January 2, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Owens also accused her of making far more than she claims to need in order to defer the costs of her $58,000 tuition.Duke's Freshman Porn Starlet Isn't Ashamed—and She Shouldn't Be | Emily Shire | February 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
So did Rush simply defer to the Pontiff when he was speaking about caring for the poor and helping those in need.How to Be Loved Like Rush Limbaugh, the 9th Most Admired Person in the US | Dean Obeidallah | January 15, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The president respects him and has been known to defer to him.
Messina asked to defer the conversation until after the midterm elections of 2010.No Drama Obama’s Dramatic 2012 Reelection Campaign | Richard Wolffe | September 12, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.The Ordinance of Covenanting | John Cunningham
Lady Engleton received the impression that Mrs. Temperley was too sure of her own judgment to defer even to the wisest.The Daughters of Danaus | Mona Caird
The war, which then existed between the Persians and the Turks, could not make him defer the execution of his pious enterprise.Superstition In All Ages (1732) | Jean Meslier
The answer to my invitation was that much as she would love to see me we should have to defer our meeting to some other time.Ways of War and Peace | Delia Austrian
But as my marriage will lead me into far different scenes, I shall, if you please, defer them till some other evening.The Adopted Daughter | Elizabeth Sandham
British Dictionary definitions for defer (1 of 2)
(tr) to delay or cause to be delayed until a future time; postpone
- deferrable or deferable, adjective
- deferrer, noun
British Dictionary definitions for defer (2 of 2)
(intr foll by to) to yield (to) or comply (with) the wishes or judgments of another: I defer to your superior knowledge
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