To defer something is to do it later or postpone it.


  • A decision on where to place a bike rack was deferred until the completion of the construction project. (The decision can be made later.)

  • The interest on the loan will be deferred until next year. (This means that the interest does not have to payed until next year.)

  • The government deferred action on a controversial immigration bill. (This means that they decided to take action later.)

  • A lot of my students are talking about DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

  • A deferred compensation plan was made available to employees who wanted to save money for retirement. (Instead of receiving the money in their paycheck, they would receive after retiring. This type of plan helps employees save on paying taxes.)

  • Deferred consumer spending helped lift the economy out of the recession. (In this sentence, the word "deferred" is an adjective. deferred spending = money spent at a later time)


Another meaning for the word "defer" is to show respect to another person or allow another person the opportunity to do something.

  • I will defer to my colleague who knows more about this matter.

  • Our company had a sudden legal issue to deal with. It was deferred to our lawyer.

  • The President often defers to military experts when it comes to making difficult decisions about conflicts around the world.



The words "deferral," "deference," and "deferment" are all nouns.

  • A person called to serve on a jury can request a deferral if an important personal situation makes it difficult to appear in court. (This means he or she would serve on a jury later.)

  • A person who is new to an organization usually shows deference to the people who have been with the organization for a long time.

  • A person who loses a job may request a deferment that would allow a temporary stop to student loan payments.



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