de·​mer·​it | \ di-ˈmer-ət How to pronounce demerit (audio) , dē-, -ˈme-rət \

Definition of demerit

1 obsolete : offense
2a : a quality that deserves blame or lacks merit : fault, defect
b : lack of merit
3 : a mark usually entailing a loss of privilege given to an offender

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Examples of demerit in a Sentence

Students are given demerits if they arrive late for classes. as a typist she has the advantage of speed but the demerit of inaccuracy
Recent Examples on the Web Joe's Crab Shack, Willie G's Seafood and Steakhouse and several other popular chain restaurants were among the 14 restaurants that received one demerit or fewer during health inspections so far this year, according to inspection records. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Joe's Crab Shack, Willie G's Seafood among Galveston's cleanest restaurants so far in 2019," 16 July 2019 The story and its equivocal coverage tell us comparatively little about the moral demerits of Ulrich Klupfer. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What Does It Mean to Destroy a Fetus?," 17 Sep. 2019 In other words, the restaurants were clean as a whistle and city health inspectors didn't hand out demerits for roaches, rodent droppings or dirty kitchen equipment. Carolina Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Houston's cleanest restaurants of January include Whataburger and Kolache Factory," 20 Feb. 2018 Copious demerits to Scary Stories, however, for setting a scene at a drive-in showing Night of the Living Dead (1968) and reformatting that film's 1.37 aspect ratio to a modern-era friendly 1.78. Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark': Film Review," 8 Aug. 2019 The acetate frames are produced in China — which shouldn’t be taken as a demerit. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Your kid’s glasses are broken? No problem, here’s another pair," 17 Sep. 2019 Its faculty has also been a factory of books taking differing positions on the merits and demerits of meritocracy and elite education. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "The Meritocrat Who Wants to Unwind the Meritocracy," 9 Sep. 2019 Sharpton is unworthy of such praise, so much so that the decision to back him reflexively is a massive moral demerit. Seth Mandel, Twin Cities, "Seth Mandel: Al Sharpton is not a lifelong fighter for justice," 2 Aug. 2019 Players who transfer to another school in the next regular semester and have a 2.6 grade-point average do not cost their former schools a retention demerit. Bruce Pascoe, azcentral, "Arizona guard Devonaire Doutrive says he won't transfer from Wildcats," 25 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demerit

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Demerit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce demerit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of demerit

US : a mark that is made on the school record of a student who has done something wrong
formal : a bad quality in something or someone : a feature or part of something or someone that is unpleasant


de·​mer·​it | \ dē-ˈmer-ət How to pronounce demerit (audio) \

Kids Definition of demerit

: a mark placed against a person's record for doing something wrong

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Nglish: Translation of demerit for Spanish Speakers

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