Definition of deference in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɛf(ə)r(ə)ns/


[mass noun]
Polite submission and respect: he addressed her with the deference due to age
More example sentences
  • Elizabeth II came to the throne when Britain still enjoyed a society where deference joined with self respect.
  • The prisoners were all perfectly submissive and paid every deference to the wishes of those in whose custody they were placed.
  • Even when this process is taking place, there is still a battle against old ideas and the habits of deference and submission.
respect, respectfulness, regard, esteem;
consideration, attentiveness, attention, thoughtfulness;
courteousness, courtesy, politeness, civility, dutifulness, reverence, veneration, awe, homage;
submissiveness, submission, obedience, yielding, surrender, accession, capitulation, acquiescence, complaisance, obeisance


in deference to

Out of respect for; in consideration of: in deference to her wishes we spent two weeks on the coast
More example sentences
  • They either watch me march away or hurriedly dash to me with an immediate, apologetic and cursory check of my goods, in deference to my self-conferred diplomatic status.
  • The Good Friday procession, which symbolises Christ's path to his crucifixion, was modified in deference to the Pope's age and health.
  • The team was named Celtic, in deference to Brother Walfrid's wishes, who felt that this name would encompass both its Irish and Scottish roots.


Mid 17th century: from French déférence, from déférer 'refer' (see defer2).

Words that rhyme with deference

preference, reference

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: def|er¦ence

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