Definition of differ in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɪfə/


[no object]
1Be unlike or dissimilar: the second set of data differed from the first tastes differ, especially in cars (as adjective differing) widely differing circumstances
More example sentences
  • Comparisons are difficult, since circumstances differed from place to place and from one decade to another.
  • I still remember the taste of those eggs, which differed from normal ones I had every morning.
  • All have obvious, if widely differing, talents but so far none has managed to capitalise upon them.
vary, be different, be unlike, be dissimilar, be distinguishable, diverge
deviate from, depart from, run counter to, contradict, contrast with, conflict with, be incompatible with, be at odds with, be in opposition to, go against
1.1Disagree: he differed from his contemporaries in ethical matters
More example sentences
  • He said however that he differed on the subject of war and would set out his point of view accordingly.
  • Do the majority and dissenting opinions differ about how to characterize them?
  • The most common wrangles are on a founder leader differing with others who troop out to form new churches.
disagree, fail to agree, dissent, be at variance, be in dispute, be in opposition, take issue, conflict, clash, cross swords, lock horns, be at each other's throats;
quarrel, argue, wrangle, quibble, squabble
informal fall out, scrap, argy-bargy, spat
archaic altercate



agree to differ

Cease to argue about something because neither party will compromise or be persuaded.
Example sentences
  • We agreed to differ on many things and we also dealt with the issues that we should be dealing with.
  • A few left, but most agreed to differ and the congregation grew.
  • Perhaps the first step in creating a culture in which people are unafraid to speak out is to listen respectfully to each other's views, and be able to gracefully agree to differ where consensus is impossible.

beg to differ

Politely disagree.
Example sentences
  • The industry begs to differ, arguing that what we are witnessing is a cultural change and that the health and fitness club will remain an important part of the commercial property market.
  • I beg to differ in my reaction to it and in my opinion on the matters she raises in her letter.
  • Much of the rest of civilization begs to differ.


Late Middle English (also in the sense 'put off, defer'): from Old French differer 'differ, defer', from Latin differre, from dis- 'from, away' + ferre 'bring, carry'. Compare with defer1.

  • refer from Late Middle English:

    Refer comes from Latin referre ‘carry back’, from re- ‘back’ and ferre ‘bring’. Referee dates from the early 17th century, but did not appear in sports contexts until the mid 19th century. Referre is also the source of mid 19th-century referendum from the Latin for ‘referring’. Ferre is the source of numerous words in English including confer ‘bring together’; defer ‘put to one side or away’, which shares an origin with differ; fertile ‘bearing’; and transfer ‘carry across’, all of which came into the language in the Late Middle English period.

Words that rhyme with differ


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dif¦fer

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