Refer vs. Defer: What's the Difference?
Refer means to direct someone for information or action; Defer means to postpone or delay action.
The words "Refer" and "Defer" possess distinct meanings. "Refer" generally means to direct someone to a different source of information or to another person for a decision, clarification, or action. It involves pointing out or mentioning a source, usually to resolve a query or to provide further insights. Conversely, "Defer" means to put off or delay an action or decision, often due to respect or the preference of yielding to the opinion or wishes of another.
"Refer" is extensively used in consultative situations or where specialization is required, often indicating the act of seeking information, advice, or help from someone more knowledgeable. "Defer," on the other hand, is often associated with yielding authority or delaying an action or decision, usually when more time is needed for consideration or when it is deemed appropriate to seek others' inputs or respect their preferences.
Utilizing "Refer" usually indicates the need for expertise or more information and is a common practice in healthcare, law, and academics, wherein specialists or specific sources are pointed out for additional insights or solutions. In contrast, utilizing "Defer" often indicates a postponement, typically of an action, decision, or judgment, allowing for more time to consider or due to the presence of more pressing matters.
The action to "Refer" typically conveys a sense of directing or guiding someone toward a source, ensuring the necessary advice, information, or action is obtained from the appropriate entity. Whereas, to "Defer" usually conveys a sense of pausing or holding off on a decision or action, often out of respect, necessity, or strategic consideration.
Conclusively, "Refer" relates to the act of directing someone to a different source or person for information, advice, or action, and "Defer" denotes the delaying or postponing of action or decision, generally out of respect, necessity, or a preference to yield to others' opinions or wishes.
To direct to a source for help or information.
To postpone or delay an action or decision.
To seek advice, information, or action from a more knowledgeable source.
To delay action or decision, often out of respect or consideration.
Consultative situations, seeking specialization or information.
Postponing actions, decisions, yielding authority or preference.
Directive, seeking expertise or clarification.
Postponement, often respectful or considerate delay.
Healthcare, law, academics for directing to specialists or specific sources.
Any situation requiring delay in action or decision for various reasons.
Refer and Defer Definitions
To direct someone to a source of information or advice.
Please refer to the manual for troubleshooting.
To yield respectfully to the opinions or wishes of others.
I defer to your greater experience in this matter.
To send or direct someone to a specialist or authority for decision or advice.
The doctor decided to refer the patient to a cardiologist.
To hold, suspend, or delay an action or judgment.
The court decided to defer the sentencing to a later date.
To mention or allude to something.
The professor may refer to various texts during the lecture.
To allocate or deal with a matter later.
Let's defer this discussion to a later time.
To relate or pertain to a particular subject or matter.
The laws refer to the constitutional rights of individuals.
To submit or comply with another’s authority or wishes.
The committee will defer to the chairman’s decision.
To direct to a source for help or information
Referred her to a heart specialist.
Referred me to his last employer for a recommendation.
To put off; postpone.
To submit (a matter in dispute) to an authority for arbitration, decision, or examination.
To postpone the induction of (one eligible for the military draft).
To direct the attention of
I refer you to the training manual.
To submit to the wish or decision of another, as in recognition of authority.
To assign or attribute to; regard as originated by.
To commit or entrust to another
The principal deferred the decision to the school board.
To assign to or regard as belonging within a particular kind or class
Referred the newly discovered partita to the 1600s.
(transitive) To delay or postpone
To relate or pertain; concern
Questions referring to yesterday's lecture.
To postpone induction into military service.
To serve as a descriptor or have as a denotation
The word chair refers to a piece of furniture.
(American football) After winning the opening coin toss, to postpone until the start of the second half a team's choice of whether to kick off or receive (and to allow the opposing team to make this choice at the start of the first half).
To speak or write about something briefly or incidentally; make reference
Referred during our conversation to several books he was reading.
(intransitive) To delay, to wait.
To turn one's attention, as in seeking information
Refer to a dictionary.
(ambitransitive) To submit to the opinion or desire of others in respect to their judgment or authority.
(transitive) To direct the attention of (someone toward something)
The shop assistant referred me to the help desk on ground floor.
To render, to offer.
(transitive) To submit to (another person or group) for consideration; to send or direct elsewhere.
He referred the matter to the principal.
To refer a patient to a psychiatrist
To put off; to postpone to a future time; to delay the execution of; to delay; to withhold.
Defer the spoil of the city until night.
God . . . will not long deferTo vindicate the glory of his name.
To place in or under by a mental or rational process; to assign to, as a class, a cause, source, a motive, reason, or ground of explanation.
He referred the phenomena to electrical disturbances.
To put off; to delay to act; to wait.
Pius was able to defer and temporize at leisure.
(intransitive) To mention (something); to direct attention (to something)
To explain the problem, the teacher referred to an example in another textbook.
To render or offer.
Worship deferred to the Virgin.
To make reference to; to be about; to relate to; to regard; to allude to.
The recipe referred to several unusual ingredients.
To lay before; to submit in a respectful manner; to refer; - with to.
Hereupon the commissioners . . . deferred the matter to the Earl of Northumberland.
(grammar) To be referential to another element in a sentence.
To yield deference to the wishes of another; to submit to the opinion of another, or to authority; - with to.
The house, deferring to legal right, acquiesced.
To point to either a specific location in computer memory or to a specific object. to
In C, the pointer obtained by
&arefers to the variable
Hold back to a later time;
Let's postpone the exam
Required to resit an examination.
Smith's marks in the finals were unsatisfactory and he was referred.
Submit or yield to another's wish or opinion;
The government bowed to the military pressure
(journalism) A blurb on the front page of a newspaper issue or section that refers the reader to the full story inside the issue or section by listing its slug or headline and its page number.
To postpone or delay an action or decision.
We had to defer our meeting until next week.
To carry or send back.
Hence: To send or direct away; to send or direct elsewhere, as for treatment, aid, information, decision, etc.; to make over, or pass over, to another; as, to refer a student to an author; to refer a beggar to an officer; to refer a bill to a committee; a court refers a matter of fact to a commissioner for investigation, or refers a question of law to a superior tribunal.
To place in or under by a mental or rational process; to assign to, as a class, a cause, source, a motive, reason, or ground of explanation; as, he referred the phenomena to electrical disturbances.
I'll refer me to all things sense.
To have recourse; to apply; to appeal; to betake one's self; as, to refer to a dictionary.
In suits . . . it is to refer to some friend of trust.
To have relation or reference; to relate; to point; as, the figure refers to a footnote.
Of those places that refer to the shutting and opening the abyss, I take notice of that in Job.
To carry the mind or thought; to direct attention; as, the preacher referred to the late election.
To direct inquiry for information or a guarantee of any kind, as in respect to one's integrity, capacity, pecuniary ability, and the like; as, I referred to his employer for the truth of his story.
Now to the universal whole advert:The earth regard as of that whole a part.
Make reference to;
His name was mentioned in connection with the invention
Have to do with or be relevant to;
There were lots of questions referring to her talk
My remark pertained to your earlier comments
Think of, regard, or classify under a subsuming principle or with a general group or in relation to another;
This plant can be referred to a known species
Send or direct for treatment, information, or a decision;
Refer a patient to a specialist
Refer a bill to a committee
Seek information from;
You should consult the dictionary
Refer to your notes
Have as a meaning;
`multi-' denotes `many'
To assign to a particular class or category.
The specimen is referred to as an unknown species.
Can defer imply a lack of knowledge or uncertainty?
Yes, deferring can sometimes occur when individuals need more time to consider or acquire additional information.
What does it mean to refer someone?
To refer someone means to direct them to another person or source for information, advice, or action.
Is referring always about seeking expertise?
Often, but not always; referring can also mean mentioning, alluding to, or relating to something.
Is to refer passive?
No, referring is an active process of directing someone to a different source or person.
Can one defer a plan?
Yes, plans can be deferred or postponed to a later time.
Can one defer to another’s judgment?
Absolutely, to defer can mean to yield or submit to another’s judgment or opinion.
Does defer always imply respect?
While defer can imply yielding out of respect, it can also simply mean to postpone or delay.
Does referring need a direct object?
Typically, yes, as referring usually involves directing someone or something to another entity.
Can refer be used in a medical context?
Yes, doctors often refer patients to specialists for specific treatments or diagnoses.
Is deference related to defer?
Yes, deference is the quality of being deferential or showing respect and yielding to the judgment, opinion, or wishes of another.
Is deferring a sign of weakness?
Not necessarily, deferring can also be a strategic or respectful choice.
Is referring to always about consulting another person?
Not always; referring can also relate to mentioning, alluding to, or consulting a document, a source of information, or an entity.
Can a document refer to another document?
Yes, documents can refer to other documents or sources for additional information or clarification.
Can refer imply a sense of urgency?
It can, depending on the context, especially when immediate information, action, or advice is needed.
Can defer mean to allocate funds to a later time?
Yes, to defer can mean to allocate or deal with financial matters at a later time.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.