A yielding of judgment or preference from respect to the wishes or opinion of another; submission in opinion; regard; respect; complaisance. "Deference to the authority of thoughtful and sagacious men." (Whewell) "Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments." (Shenstone)

Synonyms: Deference, Reverence, Respect.

Deference marks an inclination to yield one's opinion, and to acquiesce in the sentiments of another in preference to one's own. Respect marks the estimation that we have for another, which makes us look to him as worthy of high confidence for the qualities of his mind and heart. Reverence denotes a mingling of fear with a high degree of respect and esteem. Age, rank, dignity, and personal merit call for deference; respect should be paid to the wise and good; reverence is due to God, to the authors of our being, and to the sanctity of the laws.

Origin: F. Deference. See Defer.

(01 Mar 1998)

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