from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Submission or courteous respect given to another, often in recognition of authority. synonym: honor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A yielding in opinion; submission to the opinion, judgment, or wish of another; hence, regard, respect, or submission in general: as, a blind deference to authority.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A yielding of judgment or preference from respect to the wishes or opinion of another; submission in opinion; regard; respect; complaisance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Great respect.
  • noun The willingness to carry out the wishes of others.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard
  • noun courteous regard for people's feelings
  • noun a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word deference.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • treated him without deference, although they said nothing offensive.

    August 25, 2011