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  • (UK) IPA(key): [ˌdɛfəˈɹɛnʃəɫ]
  • (file)


deferential (comparative more deferential, superlative most deferential)

  1. Respectful and considerate; showing deference.
    • 2009, Elliott, Mark, “Torture, Deportation and Extra-Judicial Detention: Instruments of the “War on Terror””, in Cambridge Law Journal, volume 68, number 2, pages 245–246:
      In A v. UK, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that Part 4 of the 2001 Act was not a strictly necessary response to the acknowledged emergency evidenced by the attacks in the USA and that the detention of the applicants was in breach of Article 5. This conclusion is noteworthy given that the European Court has in the past adopted a deferential if not supine approach when assessing the legality of derogations under Article 15.
    • 2020 September 23, Paul Bigland, “The tragic tale of the Tay Bridge disaster”, in Rail, page 81:
      The oscillations were getting so severe that painters on the bridge learned to tie down their tins before a train passed. They found holes and rents in the iron but never reported them as they were never asked, and it wasn't their job. These were deferential times, and few wanted to talk out of turn.
    Antonyms: derogative, derogatory
  2. Based on deference; based on the doctrine, ideology, or wishes of others rather than one's own conclusions.
  3. (anatomy, not comparable) Of, or relating to the vas deferens.

Related terms[edit]