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 (dĕf′ər-əns, dĕf′rəns)
Submission or courteous respect given to another, often in recognition of authority. See Synonyms at honor.


1. submission to or compliance with the will, wishes, etc, of another
2. courteous regard; respect
[C17: from French déférence; see defer2]


(ˈdɛf ər əns)

1. respectful yielding to the opinion, will, etc., of another: in deference to her wishes.
2. respectful or courteous regard.
[1640–50; < French déférence < Middle French defer(er) to defer2]



after you, my dear Alphonse This popular catch phrase is the first half of the complete expression “After you, my dear Alphonse—no, after you, my dear Gaston.” It first appeared in the Hearst (King Features) comic strip Happy Hooligan written by F. Opper. The strip ran throughout the 1920s and for part of the 1930s. The characters Alphonse and Gaston were two extremely debonair Frenchmen who were so polite that they would jeopardize themselves in times of danger by taking the time to courteously ask each other to go first. Today, when two people go to do the same thing at the same time, one might humorously say to the other, “After you, my dear Alphonse.”

cap in hand Submissively; with a deferential air or manner. The phrase alludes to the image of a rustic or servant who self-consciously and humbly takes off his cap and holds it, usually against his chest, while speaking to someone of higher social status.

give the wall To yield the safest place; to allow another to walk on the walled side of a street. This expression is derived from an old custom which compelled pedestrians to surrender the safer, inner path bordering a roadway to a person of higher social rank. Modern social etiquette still requires a man to walk on the streetside of a female when walking along a sidewalk. A related expression, take the wall, describes the adamant perambulator who assumes the safer path closer to the wall. The inevitable friction between “givers” and “takers” is discussed by James Boswell in his Journal of a Tour of the Hebrides (1773):

In the last age … there were two sets of people, those who gave the wall, and those who took it; the peaceable and the quarrelsome.… Now it is fixed that every man keeps to the right; or, if one is taking the wall, another yields it, and it is never a dispute.

strike sail See SUBMISSION.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.deference - a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regarddeference - a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard; "his deference to her wishes was very flattering"; "be sure to give my respects to the dean"
civility, politeness - the act of showing regard for others
homage, court - respectful deference; "pay court to the emperor"
last respects - the act of expressing respect for someone who has died; "he paid his last respects by standing quietly at the graveside"
props - proper respect; "I have to give my props to the governor for the way he handled the problem"
2.deference - courteous regard for people's feelings; "in deference to your wishes"; "out of respect for his privacy"
good manners, courtesy - a courteous manner
3.deference - a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
agreeability, agreeableness - a temperamental disposition to be agreeable



1. The quality or state of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
2. Great respect or high public esteem accorded as a right or as due:
إذعان،نُزول عِنْد إرادةإعْتِبار، إحْتِرام، تَبْجيل
ohledpoddání sepodřízenostpodrobení seúcta
virîingvirîing, tillitssemi
poddanie sa
hürmethürmet etmesaygısaygı duyma


[ˈdefərəns] Ndeferencia f, respeto m
out of or in deference to sb/sb's agepor deferencia or respeto a algn/la edad de algn


[ˈdɛfərəns] ndéférence f, égards mpl
out of deference to, in deference to → par déférence pour, par égards pour


nAchtung f, → Respekt m; out of or in deference toaus Achtung (dat)or Respekt (dat)vor; with all due deference to youbei aller schuldigen Achtung or allem schuldigen Respekt Ihnen gegenüber


[ˈdɛfrns] ndeferenza, riguardo
out of or in deference to → per riguardo a


(diˈfə) past tense, past participle deˈferred verb
(with to) to act according to the wishes or opinions of another or the orders of authority. I defer to your greater knowledge of the matter.
deference (ˈdefərəns) noun
1. willingness to consider the wishes etc of others. He always treats his mother with deference.
2. the act of deferring.
in deference to
showing respct for. I let him speak first, in deference to his authority.
deˈferment, deˈferral noun
1. delaying; postponement.
2. officially sanctioned postponement of compulsory military service. draft deferment for college students.
References in classic literature ?
Gentlemen, which means boys, be courteous to the old maids, no matter how poor and plain and prim, for the only chivalry worth having is that which is the readiest to pay deference to the old, protect the feeble, and serve womankind, regardless of rank, age, or color.
While the common herd stood aloof, in deference to the quarters of Webb, the figure we have described stalked into the center of the domestics, freely expressing his censures or commendations on the merits of the horses, as by chance they displeased or satisfied his judgment.
Mistress Alice Pyncheon," remarked Matthew Maule, with the utmost deference, but yet a half-hidden sarcasm in his look and tone, "will no doubt feel herself quite safe in her father's presence, and under his all-sufficient protection.
To press the matter would have seemed to be doubting his word, and never in their lives had any one of them ever spoken to a person of the class called "gentleman" except with deference and humility.
I had lived in a clammy atmosphere of reverence, respect, deference, so long that they sent a quivery little cold wave through me:
and exhibited a mighty deference for my new acquaintance.
The master is fre- quently compelled to sell this class of his slaves, out of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of humanity for him to do so; for, unless he does this, he must not only whip them himself, but must stand by and see one white son tie up his brother, of but few shades darker com- plexion than himself, and ply the gory lash to his naked back; and if he lisp one word of disapproval, it is set down to his parental partiality, and only makes a bad matter worse, both for himself and the slave whom he would protect and defend.
She was not struck by any thing remarkably clever in Miss Smith's conversation, but she found her altogether very engagingnot inconveniently shy, not unwilling to talkand yet so far from pushing, shewing so proper and becoming a deference, seeming so pleasantly grateful for being admitted to Hartfield, and so artlessly impressed by the appearance of every thing in so superior a style to what she had been used to, that she must have good sense, and deserve encouragement.
Elinor saw, and pitied her for, the neglect of abilities which education might have rendered so respectable; but she saw, with less tenderness of feeling, the thorough want of delicacy, of rectitude, and integrity of mind, which her attentions, her assiduities, her flatteries at the Park betrayed; and she could have no lasting satisfaction in the company of a person who joined insincerity with ignorance; whose want of instruction prevented their meeting in conversation on terms of equality, and whose conduct toward others made every shew of attention and deference towards herself perfectly valueless.
I think (with deference be it spoken) the contrast could not be much greater between a sleek gander and a fierce falcon: between a meek sheep and the rough-coated keen-eyed dog, its guardian.
Norah had struggled against her rooted distrust of Frank, in deference to the unanswerable decision of both her parents in his favor; and had suppressed the open expression of her antipathy, though the feeling itself remained unconquered.
Jerry took the letter, and, remarking to himself with less internal deference than he made an outward show of, "You are a lean old one, too," made his bow, informed his son, in passing, of his destination, and went his way.