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Deference vs. Reverence: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Deference is respectful submission to someone's will or opinion, while reverence is deep respect mixed with awe, often for something sacred.
Deference vs. Reverence

Key Differences

Deference involves a respectful yielding or submission to the ideas, opinions, or judgments of another, often someone in a position of authority. Reverence, in contrast, is characterized by deep respect tinged with awe, typically for something sacred, venerable, or of high moral or spiritual importance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
The essence of deference lies in its social aspect, where one acknowledges and respects another person's perspective or position. Reverence, on the other hand, extends beyond the social sphere to encompass a profound and often spiritual appreciation, which can be directed towards deities, concepts, or even nature.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
Deference is often visible in hierarchical or formal settings, like in the workplace or in traditional social structures, where there is an implicit understanding of ranks or statuses. Reverence, however, transcends societal structures, being rooted in personal beliefs, values, and deep admiration.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
The expression of deference is typically through courteous actions, gestures, or language, signifying respect and compliance. In contrast, reverence might manifest in rituals, solemn practices, or a profound sense of respect that might not always be outwardly visible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
In summary, while deference is about acknowledging and respecting others’ positions or opinions, reverence involves a deeper, often spiritual or moral respect that can be felt towards entities, principles, or beliefs deemed sacred or highly valuable.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Respectful submission or compliance
Deep respect mixed with awe
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Context

Often social, hierarchical
Spiritual, moral, beyond social hierarchies
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Expression

Through gestures, language, actions
Through rituals, practices, inner respect
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Target

People, particularly in authority
Deities, principles, nature, sacred entities
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Shumaila Saeed
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Emotional Tone

Respectful, acknowledging
Awe-inspired, deeply respectful
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023
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Deference and Reverence Definitions

Deference

Courteous regard for people's feelings.
In deference to the guests' cultural preferences, the menu was carefully selected.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Reverence

A feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.
She gazed at the ancient texts with reverence, aware of their historical significance.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Deference

A way of behaving that shows respect for someone or something.
He lowered his voice in deference to the solemn atmosphere of the ceremony.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Reverence

Veneration or devout honor.
His reverence for the traditions of his ancestors was evident in his daily rituals.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Deference

Yielding to someone’s opinions or wishes.
He showed deference to his grandmother by always seeking her advice.
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Reverence

An act showing deep respect, especially in a religious context.
Kneeling before the altar was a sign of reverence in their faith.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Deference

Polite respect, especially putting another's interest first.
Out of deference to her mentor, she refrained from challenging his theory in public.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Reverence

Admiration or respect mixed with fear or wonder.
They watched the thunderstorm with a mix of fear and reverence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Deference

Respectful submission or yielding to judgment.
The junior analyst acted with deference towards her supervisor's decision.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Reverence

A feeling of profound awe and respect and often love.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

Submission or courteous respect given to another, often in recognition of authority.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

An act showing respect, especially a bow or curtsy.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

Great respect.
The children treated their elders with deference.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

Reverence Used as a form of address for certain members of the Christian clergy
Your Reverence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

The willingness to carry out the wishes of others.
By tidying his room, he showed deference to his mother.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

To consider or treat with profound awe and respect; venerate
"There was nobody whom she reverenced as she reverenced him" (Virginia Woolf).
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

A yielding of judgment or preference from respect to the wishes or opinion of another; submission in opinion; regard; respect; complaisance.
Deference to the authority of thoughtful and sagacious men.
Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

Veneration; profound awe and respect, normally in a sacred context.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

A courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard;
His deference to her wishes was very flattering
Be sure to give my respects to the dean
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

An act of showing respect, such as a bow.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

Courteous regard for people's feelings;
In deference to your wishes
Out of respect for his privacy
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

The state of being revered.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Deference

A disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

A form of address for some members of the clergy.
Your reverence
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

That which deserves or exacts manifestations of reverence; reverend character; dignity; state.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

(transitive) To show or feel reverence to.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

Profound respect and esteem mingled with fear and affection, as for a holy being or place; the disposition to revere; veneration.
If thou be poor, farewell thy reverence.
Reverence, which is the synthesis of love and fear.
When discords, and quarrels, and factions, are carried openly and audaciously, it is a sign the reverence of government islost.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

The act of revering; a token of respect or veneration; an obeisance.
Make twenty reverences upon receiving . . . about twopence.
And each of them doeth all his diligenceTo do unto the feast reverence.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

That which deserves or exacts manifestations of reverence; reverend character; dignity; state.
I am forced to lay my reverence by.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

A person entitled to be revered; - a title applied to priests or other ministers with the pronouns his or your; sometimes poetically to a father.
Such a one as a man may not speak of, without he say. "Sir reverence."
Now lies he there,And none so poor to do him reverence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

To regard or treat with reverence; to regard with respect and affection mingled with fear; to venerate.
Let . . . the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Those that I reverence those I fear, the wise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

A profound emotion inspired by a deity;
The fear of God
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Shumaila Saeed
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Reverence

A reverent mental attitude
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

Regard with feelings of respect and reverence; consider hallowed or exalted or be in awe of;
Fear God as your father
We venerate genius
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Reverence

Deep respect for something sacred or profound.
The pilgrims bowed in reverence as they entered the holy site.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How is deference shown?

Through polite actions, language, and gestures.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What is reverence?

Deep respect mixed with awe, often towards something sacred.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is reverence always a positive feeling?

Mostly, but it can be mixed with fear in awe-inspiring situations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Do different cultures view deference differently?

Yes, cultural norms heavily influence its expression.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is reverence only related to religion?

No, it can be felt towards anything held in deep respect.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

How do young people typically show deference?

By respecting elders or authority figures.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can deference be seen in everyday life?

Yes, especially in formal or hierarchical settings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What is deference?

Respectful submission or yielding to another's authority or opinion.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What are examples of reverence?

Religious rituals or profound respect for nature.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can reverence be for an idea?

Yes, such as freedom, justice, or other principles.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can deference be taught?

Yes, as part of social or cultural education.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can one feel reverence for an object?

Yes, if the object symbolizes something deeply respected.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can deference lead to negative outcomes?

Yes, if it suppresses one's own opinions unjustly.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is reverence innate or learned?

Often learned, influenced by personal experiences and culture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

How does deference affect communication?

It can make communication more respectful but sometimes less direct.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can reverence be towards a person?

Yes, if that person is deeply respected or held in awe.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is deference always visible?

Generally, yes, through observable actions or speech.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Is deference mandatory in professional settings?

Often expected, but not always mandatory.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

Can reverence change over time?

Yes, as personal beliefs and values evolve.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

What's a common misconception about reverence?

That it's only religious; it can be broader.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 29, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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