Definition of deferential in English:


Line breaks: def|er¦en|tial
Pronunciation: /dɛfəˈrɛnʃ(ə)l


Showing deference; respectful: people were always deferential to him
More example sentences
  • Some bosses like their employees to be blunt and assertive; others like them respectful and deferential.
  • He felt that he was always deferential and respectful.
  • He was accompanied by a friend, a man of imposing physique, whose deferential manner and constant attention showed that his position was one of dependence.
obsequious, humble, respectful, considerate, attentive, thoughtful;
courteous, polite, civil, dutiful, reverent, reverential, awed;
dated mannerly


early 19th century: from deference, on the pattern of pairs such as prudence, prudential.



More example sentences
  • But one cannot please all of the people all of the time: occasionally someone would step up onto the stage and ask deferentially, ‘Gentlemen, could you play something less modern?’
  • ‘I won't attempt to sing it to you,’ she says deferentially.
  • A uniformed retainer interrupts us deferentially to say that ‘His Highness’ is ready to receive us.

Definition of deferential in: