• synonyms


  1. showing deference; deferent; respectful.
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Origin of deferential

1815–25; after deference, by analogy with such pairs as residence: residential
Related formsdef·er·en·tial·ly, adverbnon·def·er·en·tial, adjectivenon·def·er·en·tial·ly, adverbo·ver·def·er·en·tial, adjectiveo·ver·def·er·en·tial·ly, adverbun·def·er·en·tial, adjectiveun·def·er·en·tial·ly, adverb


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for deferentially


  1. marked by or showing deference or respect; respectful
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Derived Formsdeferentially, 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

Word Origin and History for deferentially



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

deferentially in Medicine


  1. Of or relating to the vas deferens.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.