\ ˈdēm How to pronounce deem (audio) \
deemed; deeming; deems

Definition of deem

transitive verb

: to come to think or judge : consider deemed it wise to go slow those whom she deemed worthy a movie deemed appropriate for all ages

intransitive verb

: to have an opinion : believe

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Synonyms for deem


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Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, "demen" was a fateful word. Closely related to "doom," this precursor of deem meant "to act as a judge" or "to sentence, condemn, or decree." These meanings passed to "deem" itself, but we haven't used "deem" to mean "legally condemn" since the early 17th century. Though "deem" is still frequently used in law contexts, today it means "judge" only in a broader sense of "to decide (something specified) regarding," as in "the act was deemed unlawful" or "the defendant is deemed to have agreed to the contract." Outside of the law, "deem" usually means simply "to consider." Some usage commentators consider "deem" pretentious, but its use is well established in both literary and journalistic contexts. We deem it perfectly acceptable.

Examples of deem in a Sentence

The principal will take whatever action she deems appropriate in this case. I deem it fitting that we mark this solemn occasion with a day of prayer and thanksgiving.
Recent Examples on the Web Hostilities have flared on a regular basis since Hamas — which most Western countries deem a terrorist group — took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, causing Israel and Egypt to enforce a strict blockade on the territory. Joe Walsh, Forbes, 20 May 2021 The nation is recording 350,000 infections per day, which many experts deem an underestimation. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 28 Apr. 2021 Both tactics can dilute the power of voters of color, and judges can deem them discriminatory. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2021 Through contact tracing, the school did not deem that any other member of the team had been in close contact with Auriemma since Friday, March 12. Alexa Philippou,, 15 Mar. 2021 Most deem the decade a bitter disappointment, but still glimpse hope for the future. Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, critics like Pence criticize the attempt to federalize election rules, highlighting provisions in the bill that would unsettle longstanding practices and rules local election officials deem important to election security. Jemima Mcevoy, Forbes, 3 Mar. 2021 The state's appointment screening tool may deem you ineligible for a vaccine now but will alert you via email when rules have been updated. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 11 Feb. 2021 Would Williams deem a move to right tackle an economic blow? Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deem

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for deem

Middle English demen, from Old English dēman; akin to Old High German tuomen to judge, Old English dōm doom

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Time Traveler for deem

Time Traveler

The first known use of deem was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for deem



English Language Learners Definition of deem

formal : to think of (someone or something) in a particular way


\ ˈdēm How to pronounce deem (audio) \
deemed; deeming

Kids Definition of deem

: to have as an opinion She deemed it wise to wait.

More from Merriam-Webster on deem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deem

Nglish: Translation of deem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deem for Arabic Speakers


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