\ 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 The Information Technology Ministry said the new regulations would require social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to swiftly erase content authorities deem unlawful. NBC News, "India introduces new rules to regulate online content," 25 Feb. 2021 Officers had been deployed on 12-hour shifts in the days leading up to the riot, which took place as Congress attempted to certify election results and deem Joe Biden the president. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Security officials say Capitol attack was premeditated and blame poor preparation on lack of intelligence," 23 Feb. 2021 Who's eligible: Anyone over the age of 65, plus adults of any age with pre-existing conditions that deem them high risk, as well as healthcare workers, first responders, and some essential workers in public settings. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How to Sign Up for a COVID-19 Vaccine in All 50 States," 11 Feb. 2021 State guidelines for schools have been revised with options that state officials deem safe even at current levels of spread, Dr. Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s acting deputy secretary for public health, said at Thursday’s press conference. Bryn Stole,, "Harford superintendent hopes to have plan to return students to class by Monday school board meeting," 21 Jan. 2021 Some debate has surfaced over whether leniency should be shown to politicians who traveled for reasons some would deem essential, such as attending the memorial of an immediate family member. New York Times, "Canadian Politicians Face Ire After Taking Trips During the Holidays," 7 Jan. 2021 Many businesses however deem this method, which was introduced in 2001, as costly and subjective. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "U.S. Accounting Standard-Setter Looks to Tackle Controversial Topics in 2021," 4 Jan. 2021 The House voted Tuesday to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and deem President Trump unfit for office. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Ahead of impeachment bid, Democrats pass resolution pressuring Pence to remove Trump," 12 Jan. 2021 Yet many in the U.S. still resist wearing masks in public and even deem mask orders and social distancing guidelines as affronts to their personal freedoms. Anil Ananthaswamy, Smithsonian Magazine, "How the Belief in American Exceptionalism Has Shaped the Pandemic Response," 18 Dec. 2020

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

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 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.

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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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