• synonyms


[def-uh-ren-shuh l]
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  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


See more synonyms for deferential on Thesaurus.com
courteous, regardful, dutiful, obedient, reverential.
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.