Etymology
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Words related to defer

dis- 
Origin and meaning of dis-

word-forming element of Latin origin meaning 1. "lack of, not" (as in dishonest); 2. "opposite of, do the opposite of" (as in disallow); 3. "apart, away" (as in discard), from Old French des- or directly from Latin dis- "apart, asunder, in a different direction, between," figuratively "not, un-," also "exceedingly, utterly." Assimilated as dif- before -f- and to di- before most voiced consonants.

The Latin prefix is from PIE *dis- "apart, asunder" (source also of Old English te-, Old Saxon ti-, Old High German ze-, German zer-). The PIE root is a secondary form of *dwis- and thus is related to Latin bis "twice" (originally *dvis) and to duo, on notion of "two ways, in twain" (hence "apart, asunder").

In classical Latin, dis- paralleled de- and had much the same meaning, but in Late Latin dis- came to be the favored form and this passed into Old French as des-, the form used for compound words formed in Old French, where it increasingly had a privative sense ("not"). In English, many of these words eventually were altered back to dis-, while in French many have been altered back to de-. The usual confusion prevails.

As a living prefix in English, it reverses or negatives what it is affixed to. Sometimes, as in Italian, it is reduced to s- (as in spend, splay, sport, sdain for disdain, and the surnames Spencer and Spence).

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*bher- (1)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to carry," also "to bear children."

It forms all or part of: Aberdeen; amphora; anaphora; aquifer; auriferous; bairn; barrow (n.1) "frame for carrying a load;" bear (v.); bearing; Berenice; bier; birth; bring; burden (n.1) "a load;" carboniferous; Christopher; chromatophore; circumference; confer; conference; conifer; cumber; cumbersome; defer (v.2) "yield;" differ; difference; differentiate; efferent; esophagus; euphoria; ferret; fertile; Foraminifera; forbear (v.); fossiliferous; furtive; indifferent; infer; Inverness; Lucifer; metaphor; odoriferous; offer; opprobrium; overbear; paraphernalia; periphery; pestiferous; pheromone; phoresy; phosphorus; Porifera; prefer; proffer; proliferation; pyrophoric; refer; reference; semaphore; somniferous; splendiferous; suffer; transfer; vociferate; vociferous.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bharati "he carries, brings," bhrtih "a bringing, maintenance;" Avestan baraiti "carries;" Old Persian barantiy "they carry;" Armenian berem "I carry;" Greek pherein "to carry," pherne "dowry;" Latin ferre "to bear, carry," fors (genitive fortis) "chance, luck," perhaps fur "a thief;" Old Irish beru/berim "I catch, I bring forth," beirid "to carry;" Old Welsh beryt "to flow;" Gothic bairan "to carry;" Old English and Old High German beran, Old Norse bera "barrow;" Old Church Slavonic birati "to take;" Russian brat' "to take," bremya "a burden," beremennaya "pregnant."

differ (v.)
Origin and meaning of differ

late 14c., "be unlike, dissimilar, distinct, or various," from Old French differer (14c.) and directly from Latin differre "to set apart, differ," from assimilated form of dis- "apart, away from" (see dis-) + ferre "to bear, carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry." Meaning "disagree, be of contrary opinion" is from 1560s.

Two senses that were present in Latin have gone separate ways in English in sense and spelling (probably based on different stress) since c. 1500, with defer (transitive) taking one set of meanings and differ (intransitive) the rest. Related: Differed; differing.

de- 

active word-forming element in English and in many verbs inherited from French and Latin, from Latin de "down, down from, from, off; concerning" (see de), also used as a prefix in Latin, usually meaning "down, off, away, from among, down from," but also "down to the bottom, totally" hence "completely" (intensive or completive), which is its sense in many English words.

As a Latin prefix it also had the function of undoing or reversing a verb's action, and hence it came to be used as a pure privative — "not, do the opposite of, undo" — which is its primary function as a living prefix in English, as in defrost (1895), defuse (1943), de-escalate (1964), etc. In some cases, a reduced form of dis-.

deference (n.)

"a yielding in opinion, submission to the judgment of another," 1640s, from French déférence (16c.), from déférer "to yield, comply" (see defer (v.2)).

deferent (adj.)

1620s, "bearing off or away," from French déférent (16c.), from Latin deferentem (nominative deferens), present participle of deferre "to carry down or away" (see defer (v.2)). Earlier in Middle English as a word in Ptolemaic astronomy (early 15c.) to explain the apparent motion of planets.

deferment (n.)

1610s, "a putting off, postponement," from defer (v.1) + -ment. As "conditional exemption from a military draft," by 1918, American English.

deferral (n.)

"deferment," 1840, from defer (v.1) + -al (2).

deferred (adj.)

"delayed," 1650s, past-participle adjective from defer (v.1).