de·​mean·​or | \ di-ˈmē-nər How to pronounce demeanor (audio) \

Definition of demeanor

: behavior toward others : outward manner

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Synonyms for demeanor


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bearing, deportment, demeanor, mien, manner, carriage mean the outward manifestation of personality or attitude. bearing is the most general of these words but now usually implies characteristic posture. a woman of regal bearing deportment suggests actions or behavior as formed by breeding or training. your deportment was atrocious demeanor suggests one's attitude toward others as expressed in outward behavior. the haughty demeanor of the headwaiter mien is a literary term referring both to bearing and demeanor. a mien of supreme self-satisfaction manner implies characteristic or customary way of moving and gesturing and addressing others. the imperious manner of a man used to giving orders carriage applies chiefly to habitual posture in standing or walking. the kind of carriage learned at boarding school

Did You Know?

There's a long trail from Latin minari (which means "to threaten" and has been connected to the threatening cries of cattle drivers) to English demeanor. Along the way, we first encounter Latin minare; it means "to drive" and was once used specifically of driving animals for herding. From there, the path leads us to Anglo-French, where we pass by mener (to lead) and then demener (to conduct). Next comes Middle English demenen and then Modern English demean, both meaning "to conduct (oneself) in a certain manner." And, finally, we take one last step, and add the suffix -or to demean to get demeanor.

Examples of demeanor in a Sentence

Staffs like the one at Veritas have come a long way from the days when sommeliers … intimidated diners with their overbearing demeanor and French accents. Food & Wine, September 2002 Sam himself, a quiet young man with a rather shy demeanor, was somewhat bemused by all this attention. — Lola Oberman, Bird Watcher's Digest, November/December 1994 the director of the opera company has a haughty demeanor that can be irritating
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Recent Examples on the Web The pitcher nicknamed Klubot for his robot-like demeanor grinned when congratulated in the dugout after his final inning. Ronald Blum,, "Kluber gets 100th win as Yankees climb back to .500," 2 May 2021 But Abraham’s character (played by a stern but kind-faced Ricardo Antonio Chavira) is the main focus, and surely the most complex personality — although his possessive demeanor didn’t come across as much as in the film. Rosa Sanchez, Rolling Stone, "Who Owns Selena’s Legacy?," 30 Apr. 2021 Losing his usual jovial demeanor, the prime minister descended into a red-faced rant when Starmer — formerly the British state’s chief prosecutor — repeatedly pressed him for answers in Parliament. NBC News, "Boris Johnson's apartment renovation proves costly as opponents seize on sleaze scandal," 29 Apr. 2021 Williams was praised for his calm demeanor despite defense attorney Eric Nelson's repeat attempts to seemingly elicit an emotional reaction from him. CBS News, "Chauvin juror on the stress of the trial: "Every day we had to come in and watch a Black man die"," 28 Apr. 2021 Witnesses also told police his demeanor was threatening. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fatal shooting raises questions of police response to homeless," 22 Apr. 2021 The one-on-one time in the dressing room when the celebrant’s whole demeanor can change., "This designer wants to bring back the joy of playing dress-up," 17 Apr. 2021 When the topic of Aretha Franklin and Hudson’s role in the upcoming Respect arises, her demeanor noticeably changes. Blake Newby, Essence, "Jennifer Hudson On The One Moisturizer She Can't Live Without," 16 Apr. 2021 But his demeanor remains a question mark for some scouts. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "USC’s Evan Mobley declares for NBA draft with NFT," 16 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for demeanor

see demean entry 2

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Time Traveler for demeanor

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The first known use of demeanor was in the 15th century

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Statistics for demeanor

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demeanor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for demeanor



English Language Learners Definition of demeanor

: a person's appearance and behavior : the way someone seems to be to other people


de·​mean·​or | \ di-ˈmē-nər How to pronounce demeanor (audio) \

Kids Definition of demeanor

: outward manner or behavior a gentle demeanor


de·​mea·​nor | \ di-ˈmē-nər How to pronounce demeanor (audio) \

Legal Definition of demeanor

: outward manner : way of conducting oneself

Note: A jury may consider a witness's demeanor on the stand in determining the witness's credibility.

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