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If A takes precedence over B, is it correct to say B defers to A? I searched the web for precedence antonym but found nothing useful.

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+1 for telling the community what you've researched already. –  J.R. Mar 15 '12 at 10:18
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You could also say "deigns" as in B deigns to A, or in a technical sense, B is overriden by A. –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 13:46

5 Answers 5

You could say is subordinate to: B is subordinate to A. But it does rather depend on context.

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I think I'd need some context. For example in some programming languages we might say that the multiplication operator takes precedence over the addition operator but I would not expect someone to say that addition defers to multiplication.

In something like seating arrangements for a formal event then, yes, defers to would be correct.

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Yes, defers would be correct in most circumstances.

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I think it depends on whether B can actively decide to defer to A. The word defer means to submit to another's wishes, opinion, or governance usually out of respect. Just because A takes precedence, doesn't mean that B deferred to A. I wouldn't use the word defer unless A and B are people. Could you say A supersedes B instead?

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You could also say in a technical sense, B is overriden by A. (Although some would argue that "override" has a discrete Object-Oriented definition, but guess what - it means that is B and A are both potentially candidates, but A is used, because it overrides B!)

Defer is a fully valid word choice here, but both defer tends to have servant-like connotations.

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I'm dubious of "deigns". I would only use it in the form "A deigns to do b" –  Wudang Mar 15 '12 at 14:39
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deign doesn't mean this in British English. It means "condescends" and is only used with an action: "B deigns to speak to me". –  Andrew Leach Mar 15 '12 at 14:42
    
@Wudang I would deign to your authority on that, except I don't think that's accurate. :) (Sorry, that's just the expression that I hear in American English... but I think Andrew Leach is right in re: British English –  Affable Geek Mar 15 '12 at 14:43
    
@AffableGeek. Sorry, maybe my google-fu is weak but I can't find any usage of deign as a synonym for defer. –  Wudang Mar 15 '12 at 14:51
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@Affable Geek: If you're saying you think you can grammatically deign to someone's authority I suggest that's a highly-localised "colloquialism" in your particular speech community. Google Books records not a single relevant instance of "deign to your [anything]" or "deign to his [anything]", where [anything] is anything you could conceivably defer to. And between both those searches I only had to look at 9 entries in total anyway. –  FumbleFingers Mar 15 '12 at 15:26

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