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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Deferential'

Deferential Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    deferential adj : showing deference [syn: deferent, regardful]
Deferential Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Deferential \Def`er*en"tial\, a. [See Deference.] Expressing deference; accustomed to defer.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Deferential'

Deference (also called submission or passivity) is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of one's superior or superiors. Deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior out of respect or reverence. Deference has been studied extensively by political scientists, sociologists, and psychologists.

Smolenski (2005) examines deference in colonial Pennsylvania, to see how claims to political authority were made, justified, and accepted or rejected. He focuses on the "colonial speech economy," that is, the implicit rules that determined who was allowed to address whom and under what conditions, and describes how the qualities that inspired deference changed in the province from 1691 to 1764. The Quaker elite initially established a monopoly on political leadership based on what they believed to be their inherent civic virtue grounded in their religious and social class. By 1760, this view had been discredited and replaced with the general consensus that civic virtue was an achieved, not an inherent, attribute and that it should be determined by the display of appropriate manliness and the valor of men who were willing to take up arms for the common defense of the colony. Further, Pennsylvanians came to believe that all white men, not just wealthy property owners, were equally capable of achieving political voice. Martial masculinity, therefore, became the defining characteristic of the ideal citizen and marked a significant transformation in the way individuals justified their right to represent the public interest.

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