English root -fer means to carry, to bring, to bear

From Latin ferre, another variation is -lat. The latum was the irregular supine of ferre.

It means to carry, to bring, to bear. Many common words contains this root: infer, confer, refer, defer, prefer, differ , offer, suffer, transfer, etc.

confer

The con means together, confer is carry together. A group of people carry ideas, opinions to each other.

Conference means meeting.

  • 1. The three-man congressional delegation crossed from New Jersey to Staten Island to confer with Lord Howe.

infer

In this case, the fer means bring, bring in a conclusion. By analyzing and reasoning about things that outside and bring in the result or conclusion to your own mind.

defer

The de means apart, defer means carry apart, carry away. Things are held back or stopped to get to a destination.

refer

Bring back. Still the sense of bring from A to B, where A is about facts, reasons and B is about result or conclusion.

The difference is the conclusion or result is the current state and for that state we bring the reasons back. Refer to an expert if you need a solution, a result.

  • 1. When I said some people are stupid, I'm referring to you.

prefer

The pre means before. Do something before it actually happens, for example predict, say before. Here the thing is making decision, make a choice, if you infer you think about pros and cons of each choice, if you prefer, you just select one, maybe by instinct?.