Difference vs deference

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Difference and deference are two words that are pronounced and spelled similarly, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of difference and deference, where these words came from and some exmples of their use in sentences.

Difference describes the way in which two or more people or things are unalike, the condition of being dissimilar. Difference might also mean a disagreement. Difference is a noun, the verb form is differ, related words are differs, differed, differing. The word difference is derived from the Latin word differentia, which means diversity, an array dissimilar things.

Deference means an attitude of polite respect, a yielding to someone else’s wishes due to their age, rank, social position or accomplishments. Deference is a noun, the verb form is defer. Related words are defers, deferred, deferring. The word deference is derived from the Latin word deferre which means to grant or to transfer.


Handel, running against Ossoff for Georgia’s 6th District seat vacated when former U.S. Rep. Tom Price was named Secretary of Health and Human Services, proclaimed that she doesn’t believe in a minimum living wage and called it, “an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative.” (The Ellwood City Ledger)

However, this disease progression did not make for significant differences in the likelihood of dying from cancer or any other cause in the 10 years after diagnosis, the study said. (The Manila Times)

But the SG’s office does not want the Supreme Court to curtail the deference courts pay to federal agencies under the court’s 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council. (Reuters)

In deference to Indigenous peoples, Trudeau strips ‘Langevin Block’ name from PM’s office (The Toronto Star)