Definition of deem
- deemed it wise to go slow
- those whom she deemed worthy
- a movie deemed appropriate for all ages
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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.
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.
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.
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
: to think of (someone or something) in a particular way
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