de·​mer·​it | \di-ˈmer-ət, 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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Synonyms & Antonyms for demerit


dereliction, failing, fault, foible, frailty, shortcoming, sin, vice, want, weakness


merit, virtue

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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

The restaurant was cited for eight demerits and received an A grade after a July 2017 inspection, state records show. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "Trump vs. Red Hen restaurant: Eateries in Trump properties also dinged for violations," 5 July 2018 That inspection, conducted four years before Trump won the White House, cited 51 demerits for such violations as keeping food items well past their expiration dates. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "Trump vs. Red Hen restaurant: Eateries in Trump properties also dinged for violations," 5 July 2018 Pasta variations were usually available alongside entrees that included lobster, filet mignon, fish and fowl — all quite satisfying except for one minor demerit when crab cakes came out with a slight mushy fishy taste. Si Liberman, San Antonio Express-News, "Living it up on MSC Seaside’s ship within a ship," 5 June 2018 The future senator chafed under the strict rules of the school, drawing demerits, but just as many friends who gravitated to his quick wit and adventurous ways. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "John McCain wants to be buried near his Navy pal Chuck Larson, 'back where it all began'," 10 May 2018 But few tenants have perfect credit records and might have other demerits, and landlords should know how to evaluate specific situations. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "5 important tips for buying a rental property," 20 May 2018 The Galveston restaurants on this list were cited on their most recent health department inspections, each earning 15 or more demerits for various food safety violations. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Galveston restaurants with poor health inspection scores," 26 Feb. 2018 Did Jonathan Taylor, who clearly has a fumbling issue, his only demerit, seemed to slow up after the point of initial contact? Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Badgers football chat with Jeff Potrykus," 13 Nov. 2017 But other students arrived at the protest without permission slips, under threat of demerit, and fearful of academic repercussions. Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times, "19 Years After Columbine, Students Again Say ‘Enough’ on Gun Violence," 20 Apr. 2018

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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Time Traveler for demerit

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

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English Language Learners Definition of demerit

: a mark that is made on the school record of a student who has done something wrong

: a bad quality in something or someone : a feature or part of something or someone that is unpleasant


de·​mer·​it | \dē-ˈmer-ət \

Kids Definition of demerit

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on demerit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demerit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demerit

Spanish Central: Translation of demerit

Nglish: Translation of demerit for Spanish Speakers

Comments on demerit

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