[def-er-uh ns]


respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another.
respectful or courteous regard: in deference to his wishes.

Origin of deference

1640–50; < French déférence, Middle French, equivalent to defer(er) to defer2 + -ence -ence
Related formsnon·def·er·ence, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deference

Contemporary Examples of deference

Historical Examples of deference

  • Garson, however, was unconvinced, notwithstanding his deference to the judgment of his leader.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Yes, sir; but not my anxiety for your approbation, and my deference for your opinion.

  • He spoke with deference, but nevertheless there was a touch of reproach in his tone.

  • Perhaps her deference to my uncle made me feel as if she and I were more on a level.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Clotilde, herself, ceasing to smile, seemed to listen to him with deference.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for deference



submission to or compliance with the will, wishes, etc, of another
courteous regard; respect

Word Origin for deference

C17: from French déférence; see defer ²
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 deference

1640s, from French déférence (16c.), from déférer (see defer (v.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper