To defer to someone, or to show deference to someone, is to show that the other person is better than you somehow: more skilled, more wise or knowledgeable, etc.
So, someone or something deferential is respectful toward others in a humble way.
def er EN shull
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a deferential silence.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "His silence was deferential.”)
How to use it:
Often you say that something or someone is deferential to (or toward) someone else: "she's deferential to her professors," "he keeps his tone deferential toward the review committee."
But you can also talk about deferential things, people, and personalities: deferential comments, deferential students, a deferential attitude, her deferential reserve, the pamphlet's deferential language, my deferential disposition, etc.
What this employee takes a hundred exhausting words to say, the other expresses with one deferential nod.
It's charming but funny to see my notably sassy friend become deferential when she speaks to her grandfather.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "deferential" means when you can explain it without saying "respectful" or "self-effacing."
Think of a time you accomplished something by being especially polite or respectful, and fill in the blanks: "With a deferential (request/email/phone call/letter, etc.), I was able to _____."
Example: "With a deferential phone call, I was able to get the late charge removed from the bill."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
Of the many, many different words for types of fortune-telling, could you use your knowledge of word roots to explain what these are? For example, arithmancy is divination using numbers.
- Chiromancy is divination by means of _____. - Gastromancy is divination by sounds from the _____. - Odontomancy is divination using _____.
- Chiromancy is divination by means of palmistry ("reading" the palms.)
- Gastromancy is divination by sounds from the belly.
- Odontomancy is divination using teeth.
Try this one today:
If an anthropolith is a fossilized human skeleton, and if the lithosphere is the crust and upper mantle of the earth, and if tripolith is akind of cement... then what does the Greek word lithos mean?
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answer? Check out Stephen's full list and discussion at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Romans 5:3-4: “Tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.”
1. The opposite of DEFERENTIAL is
2. The professor interpreted the students' _____ as deferential _____ and moved on.
A. confused stares .. attention
B. poor quiz performance .. effort
C. individual presentations .. group work
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.