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 Plus, the cast turned in phenomenal performances, from Caity Lotz's forebodingly chill demeanor throughout the apocalypse to the look of horror on Jes Macallan's face as Sara was overpowered. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Superhero Insider: Batwoman rocked by a surprising arrival and departure," 22 May 2020 Just as Allison's peaceful demeanor broke, the deceptive calm on the campus was crumbling. Paula Schleis,, "She told guardsmen at Kent State 'Flowers are better than bullets!' Then a bullet killed her.," 2 May 2020 April 29, 2020 Karpf thinks O’Neal’s humble demeanor makes fans adore him. Susan Hornik, Los Angeles Times, "‘Shaq Life’ is the feel-good docuseries you really need to watch right now," 30 Apr. 2020 However, as Hall notes, be careful and monitor your pet's demeanor during the process. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "Dog Owners Are Using This Hilarious Trick to Clip Their Pet's Nails—and It Works," 30 Apr. 2020 People also remember Robicsek for his generous heart and caring demeanor when interacting with his patients. Alicia Lee, CNN, "Renowned surgeon, known for his generosity and humanitarian work, asked to be buried in his scrubs," 6 Apr. 2020 What was his demeanor like after the game, away from the cameras, in the privacy of the locker room? Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Tristan Thompson trade would be ‘huge shot to morale,’ says Larry Nance Jr.," 6 Feb. 2020 More concerning, though, has been his general demeanor. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets star Nikola Jokic unmoved by matchup vs. All-Star Joel Embiid: “I’m just playing basketball”," 7 Nov. 2019 Among Herta's most notable and valuable qualities continues to be his unflappable demeanor. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Colton Herta becomes youngest pole-winner in IndyCar history at Road America," 22 June 2019

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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for demeanor


How to pronounce demeanor (audio)

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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