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defer (verb) postpone or delay; accept someone's decision or opinion (out of respect).

When you defer an action, you postpone it until a later day. A decision on a matter is deferred if it is put off for sometime, as the circumstances make it difficult to take the decision. 'Action on the project has been deferred as sufficient funds are not available.' This means, the work on the project will be taken up later as the funds now are not enough for the work to begin with. When you accept the decision or the opinion of a person out of respect for them or regard for their better knowledge of a subject, you defer to their opinions, wishes, and decisions. 'I defer to his wishes, and am willing to arrange the function on a day that suits him.' This means, I am ready to arrange the function whenever he wants it. In view of her better knowledge of the subject, they deferred to her opinion. That is, they accepted her opinion because she knows the subject better.

  • The Government has decided to defer some of the poverty alleviation schemes until they have full information of the beneficiaries of such schemes. They want to wait till the information is collected about those who really deserve it.
  • The members of the family deferred to the wishes of the grandfather that they continue to live together in their ancestral home. They dropped their earlier plans to separate.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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