Sure you wear ripped jeans to school every day, but you don't wear them to your grandmother's house out of deference to her. When you show deference to someone, you make a gesture of respect.

The noun deference goes with the verb defer, which means "to yield to someone's opinions or wishes out of respect for that person." If you and your dad disagree about the best route to the grocery store, you might defer to him, and take his route. You're taking his route out of deference to his opinion and greater experience.

Definitions of deference

n courteous regard for people's feelings

“in deference to your wishes”
respect, respectfulness
Type of:
courtesy, good manners
a courteous manner

n a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard

“his deference to her wishes was very flattering”
court, homage
respectful deference
last respects
the act of expressing respect for someone who has died
proper respect
Type of:
civility, politeness
the act of showing regard for others

n a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others

complaisance, compliance, compliancy, obligingness
Type of:
agreeability, agreeableness
a temperamental disposition to be agreeable

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