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From Early Modern English conferre, from Middle French conférer, from Old French conferer, from Latin cōnferō. Compare Dutch confereren ‎(to confer), German konferieren ‎(to confer), Danish konferere ‎(to confer), Swedish konferera ‎(to confer).



confer ‎(third-person singular simple present confers, present participle conferring, simple past and past participle conferred)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To compare. [16th–18th c.]
    • 1557 (book title):
      The Newe Testament ... Conferred diligently with the Greke, and best approued translations.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.3.1.i:
      Confer thine estate with others […]. Be content and rest satisfied, for thou art well in respect to others […].
    • Boyle
      If we confer these observations with others of the like nature, we may find cause to rectify the general opinion.
  2. (intransitive) To talk together, to consult, discuss; to deliberate. [from 16th c.]
    • 1974, "A Traveler's Perils", Time, 25 Mar 1974:
      Local buttons popped when Henry Kissinger visited Little Rock last month to confer with Fulbright on the Middle East oil talks.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To bring together; to collect, gather. [16th–17th c.]
  4. (transitive) To grant as a possession; to bestow. [from 16th c.]
    • Milton
      the public marks of honour and reward conferred upon me
    • 2010, Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer, 7 Feb 2010:
      The special immunities that are conferred on MPs were framed with the essential purpose of allowing them to speak freely in parliament.
  5. (obsolete, intransitive) To contribute; to conduce. [16th–18th c.]
    • Glanvill
      The closeness and compactness of the parts resting together doth much confer to the strength of the union.

Related terms[edit]


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See also[edit]




  1. second-person singular present active imperative of cōnferō