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 Impact on credit scores: A bankruptcy filing will damage your credit score, and the demerit with stay on your credit reports for seven years (for a Chapter 13) or 10 years (for a Chapter 7), according to credit bureau Experian. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Are you financially stressed right now? What to know about options, from debt negotiation to bankruptcy," 8 Sep. 2020 But one editor’s demerit is another solver’s lexicon. Natan Last, The Atlantic, "The Hidden Bigotry of Crosswords," 18 Mar. 2020 This mpg demerit is most likely due to the Touring's larger 17-inch wheels. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "Our 2019 Honda Insight Touring Is Memorable, Just Not for Its Looks," 20 Mar. 2020 Warren’s personal manner, hitherto unremarkable, became a demerit. Katha Pollitt, The New Yorker, "Mad About Elizabeth Warren," 13 Mar. 2020 The only demerits are a slight juddering of the dual clutches when feathering the brake pedal at creeping traffic pace, and a little numbness in the steering when turning in and through mid-corner when driving sedately. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "The mid-engined Corvette was 60 years in the making—now we’ve driven it," 25 Feb. 2020 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

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 23 Jan. 2021.

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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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