Actually, deferred means pretty much what "random_poster" has stated. It means that admissions is going to hold a candidate's application for further consideration, most likely after admissions has a better idea of what its body of applicants for the year looks like. From the deferral list, one has the option of being accepted, denied or waitlisted. HOWEVER, if you have been deferred, it is a good idea to check with the school and see if it has already begun compiling a waitlist. If this is the case and your application has remained in deferral mode, it could mean that decisions are being made with regards to whether or not your application will even make the waitlist. If you can confirm that this is the case with the admissions office, this can give you a better idea about your chances of admission to the school. And don't be afraid to contact the admissions office with any questions that you might have about their specific application process. In most cases, you've already paid a hefty application fee, so I think that you are most certainly justified in knowing what you have paid for.