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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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

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 Ninfa's On Navigation and other local favorites were among more than 100 Houston restaurants that received only one demerit during health inspections in May, according to inspection records. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Ninfa's On Navigation, Nancy's Hustle among Houston's cleanest restaurants in May," 7 June 2019 And yet that complaint feels more like an intellectual scruple than a real demerit. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "The Rijksmuseum displayed ‘all the Rembrandts,’ and crowds went crazy," 7 June 2019 Although possibly there are some demerits for that third period. Dylan Bumbarger,, "Winterhawks 7, Thunderbirds 4," 4 Mar. 2018 Trump himself appears to be wrangling in real time with the benefits and demerits of either approach. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump team's trade diplomacy faces critical tests in Europe and Asia," 30 Apr. 2018 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

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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Statistics for demerit

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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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

What made you want to look up demerit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

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