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

Definition of demeanor

: behavior toward others : outward manner

Synonyms for demeanor


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Choose the Right Synonym for demeanor

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

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There's a long trail from the Latin origins of demeanor to its English incarnation. It starts with minari, "to threaten"—a word connected to the threatening cries of cattle drivers. Leaving minari, we soon encounter a close Latin relation, 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
Recent Examples on the Web These Timberwolves have a different demeanor – a confidence that walks right up to the line of arrogance. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 But Manolete’s manager had told him to stop mimicking the garish, balletic style of bullfighting that was popular at the time and taught him, instead, to leverage his rail-thin build and natural demeanor into something statelier. New York Times, 3 May 2022 Beneath her business suit and professional demeanor was an inspiring orator, Celia Wcislo, a longtime Service Employees International Union official told the Globe in 1998. Globe Staff,, 1 May 2022 Yet a detailed new study of dog behavior and genetics suggests that breed is actually of little value in anticipating the behavior or demeanor of any individual animal. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 30 Apr. 2022 Yet a detailed new study of dog behavior and genetics suggests that breed is actually of little value in anticipating the behavior or demeanor of any individual animal. Amy Hubbard, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Jamie enters the room and notices Claire's demeanor. Lincee Ray,, 25 Apr. 2022 Alex Honnold is a self-effacing young Californian whose gentle demeanor belies his position as the world’s foremost free-solo climber. Taylor Brown, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 The show has been trending on Egyptian social media since its release on April 1, with many using the Arabic hashtag #TheChoice3 and noting the accuracy with which Galal's voice and demeanor mirror those of the president. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of demeanor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for demeanor

demean entry 2 + -or entry 2

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demeanor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for demeanor


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on demeanor

Nglish: Translation of demeanor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demeanor for Arabic Speakers


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