de·​mer·​it di-ˈmer-ət How to pronounce demerit (audio)
obsolete : offense
: a quality that deserves blame or lacks merit : fault, defect
: lack of merit
: a mark usually entailing a loss of privilege given to an offender

Examples of demerit in a Sentence

Students are given demerits if they arrive late for classes. my keyboarding has the advantage of speed but the demerit of inaccuracy
Recent Examples on the Web This year’s entries scored relatively high marks for consistency, Welsh said, though some demerits are easier to fix than others. Thomas Goodwin Smith, Baltimore Sun, 3 Aug. 2023 Two other police officers, who had oversight of the operation, have also received demerits, said the spokesperson, citing damage to the police department’s reputation. Wayne Chang, CNN, 26 July 2023 But race has been a demerit for so long, race must now constitute a merit when addressing the issues of the persistence of racial inequality in America. DAVIS: Michael Eric Dyson, always a pleasure to have you on the show. Abc News, ABC News, 30 June 2023 Some might give Luca demerits for not being as ambitious as either 2020 Pixar movie, Onward or Soul. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 21 June 2023 The state officials seem unfazed by these demerits. Ryann Liebenthal, The New Republic, 9 May 2023 All carbon-removal technologies have merits and demerits and bear the risk of unintended consequences. IEEE Spectrum, 28 May 2022 Another demerit for the Boston sports culture., 31 May 2021 But for his public, the problem with the photo was the optics of carnal sin—the attractive young woman who was not his wife, the recreational drinking, the unzipped pants—none of which would be acceptable at Liberty University, where coed dancing is penalized with a demerit. Elizabeth Spiers, The New York Review of Books, 20 Aug. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demerit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French demerite, from Medieval Latin demeritum, from neuter of demeritus, past participle of demerēre to be undeserving of, from Latin, to earn, from de- + merēre to merit

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of demerit was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near demerit

Cite this Entry

“Demerit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​mer·​it di-ˈmer-ət How to pronounce demerit (audio)
: a quality that deserves blame : fault
: a mark placed against a person's record for some fault or offense

More from Merriam-Webster on demerit

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