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


actions, address, bearing, behavior, comportment, conduct, deportment, geste (also gest) [archaic]

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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

Their happy demeanor here belies the fact that members of the court, especially the prince's mother Empress Nagako, weren't supportive of their courtship. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "The Secret Story Behind a Never-Before-Seen Portrait of Emperor Akihito," 2 May 2019 With the notable exception of the Donald Sterling saga, which elicited true contempt, there haven’t been many instances in which Silver broke from his meticulous and subdued public demeanor. Ben Golliver,, "Two Years After Durant’s Decision, Adam Silver Changes Tune on Superteam Warriors," 11 July 2018 His whole attitude, his whole demeanor toward the game, mind-set between games, is completely different. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Here are Butler basketball's top 10 career scorers," 9 July 2018 Figuring out a snake’s demeanor is more of a guessing game. Jason Nark,, "Venomous passion: Pennsylvania's snake hunters head to the hills," 20 June 2018 Mister Rogers’s demeanor balanced openness with reserve, curiosity with tact. New York Times, "Review: Take the Next Trolley to ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’," 6 June 2018 According to Aktar, Coyne’s demeanor never changed depending on the project (his '90s resume boasts albums courtesy of everyone from the Wu-Tang Clan to the Backstreet Boys). Rob Ledonne, Billboard, "Mastering Adele, Beyonce, Bruno Mars & Taylor Swift: Remembering Tom Coyne One Year After His Death," 12 Apr. 2018 Fowler’s demeanor did little to challenge that notion. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Rickie Fowler's second-place finish at Masters is a preview of what's to come," 9 Apr. 2018 For all of his seen-it-all demeanor, Roebuck is impressed with her as a cop and intrigued by her as a person. David Zurawik,, "'The Tunnel' returns to PBS and speaks truth to our border and immigration debate," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for demeanor

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demeanor

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on demeanor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demeanor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demeanor

Spanish Central: Translation of demeanor

Nglish: Translation of demeanor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demeanor for Arabic Speakers

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