Definition of differ in English:



  • 1 Be unlike or dissimilar.

    ‘the second set of data differed from the first’
    ‘tastes differ, especially in cars’
    ‘widely differing circumstances’
    • ‘Comparisons are difficult, since circumstances differed from place to place and from one decade to another.’
    • ‘The treatment of Non Hodgkin lymphoma differs widely, depending on the kind of lymphoma you have.’
    • ‘The activities of ripening-related enzymes also differ widely between species.’
    • ‘Then, too, he makes allowances for customs that differed from one manor to the next.’
    • ‘Non-rhotic pronunciation differs widely in its prestige, depending on where it occurs.’
    • ‘In each case he shows how they were similar to or differed from their non-Jewish peers.’
    • ‘Their tactics were not standard, but differed from valley to valley and tribe to tribe.’
    • ‘The predator community found in our study differed from that found in North Dakota.’
    • ‘It's hard to generalise about plot prices, as they will differ widely by size and location.’
    • ‘Forms of social community and their changes over time differed widely in China and the West.’
    • ‘They are dotted across the spectrum, and differ widely from area to area.’
    • ‘I still remember the taste of those eggs, which differed from normal ones I had every morning.’
    • ‘And yet there are plenty of examples of ways this war differed from any other previously fought.’
    • ‘The new state brought together groups that differed from each other in many respects.’
    • ‘The four species in the present study had wings that differed widely in shape.’
    • ‘It sounds kind of reductionist to sum people up by their musical tastes and how they differ from yours.’
    • ‘Compensation was reduced to recover benefits already paid, but the amount deducted differed from benefit to benefit.’
    • ‘The parameter was identical within each tree, but it differed from one tree to another.’
    • ‘All have obvious, if widely differing, talents but so far none has managed to capitalise upon them.’
    • ‘Though eating patterns have differed widely by region and culture, some broad historical patterns can be outlined.’
    vary, be different, be unlike, be dissimilar, be distinguishable, diverge
    deviate from, depart from, run counter to, contradict, contrast with, conflict with, be incompatible with, be at odds with, be in opposition to, go against
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Disagree.
      ‘he differed from his contemporaries in ethical matters’
      • ‘Do the majority and dissenting opinions differ about how to characterize them?’
      • ‘He said however that he differed on the subject of war and would set out his point of view accordingly.’
      • ‘On this, it seems clear that the classical economists differed from their critics.’
      • ‘Decision making about futility and techniques of withdrawal is difficult and subject to differing opinion.’
      • ‘Another problem is differing interpretations of what it means to use a client-side certificate.’
      • ‘Did people with differing viewpoints get a fair chance to speak, in your opinion?’
      • ‘No doubt differing cultural perspectives played an important role in the schism of 1927.’
      • ‘Many times this Court's views have differed from those of the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Among his rivals on tour, there are differing opinions on his victory.’
      • ‘Now I don't mind anyone leaving a comment, after all people have differing opinions on any subject.’
      • ‘Their power lies in signifying recognition of the other person's problem or differing viewpoint.’
      • ‘I personally would argue strongly for the right of anyone to differ with me.’
      • ‘The two traditions draw on differing interpretations of the American ‘national interest’.’
      • ‘As with any group there may be differing points of view on subjects brought to the list.’
      • ‘The theme reflects an attempt to find common cause between differing perspectives on environmental issues.’
      • ‘We collected voices that offer shifting images and differing interpretations of the same landscape.’
      • ‘Conservatives differ in terms of which of these approaches we think is the best.’
      • ‘To the extent that this interpretation differed from that of the Inspector, the point needed no further explanation.’
      • ‘The most common wrangles are on a founder leader differing with others who troop out to form new churches.’
      • ‘Verdi scholars hold differing opinions as to when he actually espoused the nationalist cause.’
      disagree, fail to agree, dissent, be at variance, be in dispute, be in opposition, take issue, conflict, clash, cross swords, lock horns, be at each other's throats
      View synonyms


  • agree to differ

    • Cease to argue about something because neither party will compromise or be persuaded.

      • ‘One issue they agree to differ on is the mock exams.’
      • ‘A few left, but most agreed to differ and the congregation grew.’
      • ‘We agreed to differ on many things and we also dealt with the issues that we should be dealing with.’
      • ‘I stood my ground, and he stood his, and we agreed to differ, although he still remains a very good news source.’
      • ‘And if reconciliation is impossible, agree to differ with grace.’
      • ‘Perhaps the first step in creating a culture in which people are unafraid to speak out is to listen respectfully to each other's views, and be able to gracefully agree to differ where consensus is impossible.’
      • ‘I know passions tend to run high on this kind of subject, but can we all at least try to agree to differ and respect each other's paths?’
      • ‘We obviously can't just agree to differ on these kinds of questions.’
      • ‘In some of the best debates in parapsychology the proponents and critics have ended up simply agreeing to differ or failing to reach any agreement.’
      • ‘And we now agree to differ on some of the points which he and I earlier had a debate about.’
  • beg to differ

    • Politely disagree.

      • ‘You can't imagine there being a time when film wasn't part of her plans - although she begs to differ.’
      • ‘And if anyone assumes there is anything slapped together about it, he begs to differ.’
      • ‘Much of the rest of civilization begs to differ.’
      • ‘A prominent Beverly Hills estate agent begged to differ; if the property could be subdivided, he felt it could attract offers of around $20m.’
      • ‘‘I don't think we're very good students anymore,’ she says; however, Carmen begged to differ.’
      • ‘I beg to differ in my reaction to it and in my opinion on the matters she raises in her letter.’
      • ‘A great many economic historians have begged to differ.’
      • ‘‘This is obviously an extremely dangerous game,’ he opined, and none begged to differ.’
      • ‘The industry begs to differ, arguing that what we are witnessing is a cultural change and that the health and fitness club will remain an important part of the commercial property market.’
      • ‘Danny, who has worked here for three years, begs to differ.’


Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘put off, defer’): from Old French differer differ, defer, from Latin differre, from dis- from, away + ferre bring, carry. Compare with defer.