de·​mand | \ di-ˈmand How to pronounce demand (audio) , -ˈmänd, dē- \

Definition of demand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an act of demanding or asking especially with authority a demand for obedience
b : something claimed as due or owed the demands of the workers' union
2 archaic : question
3a economics : willingness and ability to purchase a commodity or service the demand for quality day care
b : the quantity of a commodity or service wanted at a specified price and time supply and demand
4a : a seeking or state of being sought after in great demand as an entertainer
b : urgent need an increased demand for blood donations
5 : the requirement of work or of the expenditure of a resource equal to the demands of the office demands on one's time oxygen demand for waste oxidation
on demand
: upon presentation and request for payment also : when requested or needed video on demand


demanded; demanding; demands

Definition of demand (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to call for something in an authoritative way : to make a demand : ask

transitive verb

1 : to ask or call for with authority : claim as due or just demanded to see a lawyer
2 : to call for urgently, imperiously, or insistently demanded that the rioters disperse
3a : to ask authoritatively or earnestly to be informed of demand the reason for the dismissal
b : to require to come : summon
4 : to call for as useful or necessary etiquette demands a handwritten thank-you

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Other Words from demand


demandable \ di-​ˈman-​də-​bəl How to pronounce demandable (audio) , -​ˈmän-​ , dē-​ \ adjective
demander noun

Choose the Right Synonym for demand


demand, claim, require, exact mean to ask or call for something as due or as necessary. demand implies peremptoriness and insistence and often the right to make requests that are to be regarded as commands. demanded payment of the debt claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right. claimed the right to manage his own affairs require suggests the imperativeness that arises from inner necessity, compulsion of law or regulation, or the exigencies of the situation. the patient requires constant attention exact implies not only demanding but getting what one demands. exacts absolute loyalty

Examples of demand in a Sentence

Noun The committee is considering her demand that she be given more time to complete the study. The workers said they would not end the strike until their demands were met. The demand for low-income housing is increasing as the economy gets worse. We are seeing an increased demand for hospital beds. The company increased production to meet demand. Verb The customer demanded a refund. Parents have demanded that the teacher resign. The reporter demanded to see the documents. I demand to know what is going on here! “Come here at once!” he demanded. “Why won't you answer me?” she demanded. The situation demands immediate action.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The government’s decision that from June 8th most incomers to Britain, including those returning from holidays, will have to self-isolate for a fortnight should boost demand for small, frugal, domestic ones. The Economist, "Sad summer Holiday resorts need tourists but don’t want them," 28 May 2020 Some, such as hospitals and food banks, have had unprecedented demands for their services. Leslie Lenkowsky, WSJ, "A Virus Attacks Philanthropy," 27 May 2020 Some social media users and media outlets reported lines formed Tuesday even before BMVs opened at 8 a.m. There likely is pent-up demand for license services, especially since many jobs require a valid form of ID to be able to apply. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Ohio to increase coronavirus testing in nursing homes: The Wake Up for Wednesday, May 27, 2020," 27 May 2020 Wealth can be broadly shared prosperity, or it can be closely held, private, effectively underwritten by the cheapening of the labor of the nonrich, which reduces their demand for goods and services. Marilynne Robinson, The New York Review of Books, "What Kind of Country Do We Want?," 27 May 2020 CPS Energy saw demand for power fall by 5 percent between March 25 and April 30, the height of the economic shutdown — with local and state governments imposing stay-at-home orders and the closing of nonessential businesses. Randy Diamond,, "CPS Energy says big losses still a possibility," 27 May 2020 Today brings new poignancy to this loss as the current White House administration faces harsh criticism and demands for more action in the face of another virus. Nick Romano,, "Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart playwright and AIDS activist, dies at 84," 27 May 2020 American Airlines is trying to avoid its second bankruptcy in a decade as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated demand for air travel, especially for international tickets and business flights. Kyle Arnold, Dallas News, "American Airlines CEO: Second bankruptcy in a decade is not an option," 27 May 2020 The latest proposal would go further, trying to balance airlines' needs with communities' demands for service. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Cities push back as airlines seek dozens of new service cuts. Is your airport on the list?," 29 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The group known as REvil locked up the files Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, claimed to have stolen 756 gigabytes of data, and demanded a $21 million ransom to restore order. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Security News This Week: Hackers Claim to Have ‘Dirty Laundry’ About Donald Trump," 16 May 2020 John Katko, Lee Zeldin, Pete King and Tom Reed wrote a letter to the leaders of the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, demanding an investigation. Fox News, "Elise Stefanik asks feds to investigate Cuomo's 'failed' nursing home policy," 16 May 2020 President Trump has also expressed interest in demanding financial compensation from China. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "China threatens to sanction Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, other GOP lawmakers, over coronavirus criticism," 15 May 2020 Patients who demand antacids or antimalarial drugs being studied in COVID-19 could be harmed by side effects, for example. Liz Szabo, azcentral, "Chasing the elusive dream of a COVID cure," 15 May 2020 Reed's death has prompted multiple demonstrations, with protesters demanding transparency. Crystal Hill, The Indianapolis Star, "IMPD detective who made 'closed casket' comment was suspended, reassigned, chief says," 14 May 2020 France and Britain have squabbled over quarantine rules, China is threatening Australia with punitive tariffs for demanding an investigation into the virus’s origins and the White House remains on the warpath about trade. The Economist, "Globalisation unwound Has covid-19 killed globalisation?," 14 May 2020 The firing of American union activists during the pandemic has been widely publicized in France, as a mirror of what French workers have demanded—albeit in a country with far stronger labor protections. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, "France is the one place where Amazon workers are winning," 13 May 2020 On April 30, a group of protesters, including some carrying rifles and not wearing masks as required under the order, crowded into the hall outside the state House chambers, demanding to be allowed inside. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Gretchen Whitmer reacts to threats against her, others with another protest looming," 11 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'demand.' 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 demand


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for demand


Middle English demaunde, demande "question, request, claim," borrowed from Anglo-French, noun derivative of demander, demaunder "to ask a question, claim as due" — more at demand entry 2


Middle English demaunden, demanden "to ask a question, ask, claim as due," borrowed from Anglo-French demander, demaunder, borrowed from Medieval Latin dēmandāre "to entrust, send, send word of, send instructions (to), make a claim on," going back to Latin, "to entrust, hand over (to), lay a duty on," from de- de- + mandāre "to hand over, deliver, order" — more at mandate entry 1

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Time Traveler for demand

Time Traveler

The first known use of demand was in the 13th century

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Statistics for demand

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demand.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for demand


How to pronounce demand (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of demand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a forceful statement in which you say that something must be done or given to you
: a strong need for something
: the ability and need or desire to buy goods and services



English Language Learners Definition of demand (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say in a forceful way that something must be done or given to you : to say that you have a right to (something)
: to say or ask (something) in a very forceful way
: to require (something)


de·​mand | \ di-ˈmand How to pronounce demand (audio) \

Kids Definition of demand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a forceful expression of what is desired a demand for money
2 : something claimed as owed He presented a list of demands.
3 : an expressed desire to own or use something The demand for new cars is up.
4 : a seeking or state of being sought after Good teachers are in great demand.


demanded; demanding

Kids Definition of demand (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to claim as a right I demand an apology.
2 : to ask earnestly or in the manner of a command The sentry demanded the password.
3 : to call for : require The situation demands attention.
on demand
: when requested or needed Payment is due on demand.



Legal Definition of demand

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a formal request or call for something (as payment for a debt) especially based on a right or made with force a shareholder must first make a demand on the corporation's board of directors to act— R. C. Clark a written demand for payment
2 : something demanded any demands against the estate — see also claim
on demand
: upon presentation and request for payment

Legal Definition of demand (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ask or call for with force, authority, or by legal right : claim as due on any issue triable of right by a jury, a party may demand a jury trialFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 38(b)

Other Words from demand

demandable adjective

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