\ˈdēm \

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


believe, conceive, consider, esteem, feel, figure, guess, hold, imagine, judge, reckon [chiefly dialect], suppose, think

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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

All participants were deemed to be at high risk for diabetes before entering the study based on their elevated fasting glucose levels. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "The Science on Weight and Health," 26 June 2018 Markle's second wedding dress, with its high neckline, was also deemed reminiscent of Diana's wardrobe. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Channeled Princess Diana in Her Printed Blue Dress," 18 June 2018 Atop her long history of inappropriate comments and behavior, she was deemed toxic and fired within hours. Rob Weinberg, Pomerado News, "Racism, vulgarity and bottom lines," 7 June 2018 Sponsor reserves the right to refuse votes for restaurants that are deemed not appropriate for the Category for which the votes were cast. Howard County Times, "Official rules: Howard Magazine Best Restaurants readers' poll 2018," 5 June 2018 In fact, a full 30 percent of bikes had multiple issues or were deemed unrideable. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Can dockless and station-based bike-share programs coexist?," 30 May 2018 The wedding of Knatchbull, Lord Louis Mountbatten's great granddaughter, was deemed 'the society event of the year,' and the guest list included not only Prince Charles, but also the Queen, Prince Philip, and Princess Anne. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Royal Wedding Won't Be the First Time Prince Charles Has Walked a Bride Down the Aisle," 18 May 2018 Rothman said she has been deemed qualified by the San Diego Bar Association to handle the responsibilities of a judge in the Superior Court. Emily Sorensen, Rancho Bernardo, "Two vying for judge position in San Diego Superior Court race," 17 May 2018 As long as a shot was open, it was deemed a good one. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Steve Kerr, Mike D’Antoni: Hoops savants who clashed in the past," 11 May 2018

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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Statistics for deem

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deem

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

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More Definitions for deem



English Language Learners Definition of deem

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


\ˈdēm \
deemed; deeming

Kids Definition of deem

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

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Comments on deem

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