\ 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 This could be proof of vaccination or proof of recovery — whatever documentation health officials deem necessary to prove someone is not a risk for spreading the virus. Stephen Ritter, Forbes, "Will Travel Ever Be The Same For U.S. Citizens?," 16 Apr. 2021 First, when Henry scored through a foul by Franz Wagner as part of a three-point play, only to have a video review deem his flailing elbow, which hit the Michigan sophomore in the face, an infraction. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo has two days to solve issues against Michigan," 5 Mar. 2021 The disintegration of American infrastructure is a consequence of many shortcomings, both political and economic, but one of the most perniciously pertinent is that Americans deem infrastructure to be expendable. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, "This Exquisite Exhibit Of Traditional Japanese Carpentry Can Teach America How To Build Back Better," 6 Apr. 2021 Shoppers who deem dressing up an essential task will find plenty of grittily glamorous frocks from Simone Rocha, Prada, Paco Rabanne, and Rick Owens, and cocooning couture shapes from Louis Vuitton, Patou, and Roksanda. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "10 Trends From the Fall 2021 Season That Predict Fashion’s Future," 16 Mar. 2021 Sill became increasingly frustrated with her lack of success, and in an event that several sources deem either exaggerated or entirely fabricated, Sill reportedly bad-mouthed Geffen onstage in England — calling him a homophobic slur. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, "The Many Lives of Judee Sill," 16 Mar. 2021 When Perseverance comes across a rock that SHERLOC and other instruments deem particularly promising, the rover can stash a sample in a tube for retrieval by a future mission. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Was there ever life on Mars? Perseverance’s SHERLOC laser sniffs for microscopic clues," 11 Mar. 2021 The efficacy rate announced by authorities in the U.A.E., where the trials took place, would put the vaccine above the 50% threshold that international scientists deem necessary to protect people. Rory Jones And Chao Deng, WSJ, "Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine Is 86% Effective, U.A.E. Trial Shows," 9 Dec. 2020 The results, for one of two candidate vaccines being tested by Sinopharm, put the inoculation over the 50% threshold that the World Health Organization and the Chinese drug regulator deem necessary to protect people. Erin Mendell, WSJ, "Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine Is 79% Effective, Interim Phase 3 Results Show," 30 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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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