de·​mur | \ di-ˈmər How to pronounce demur (audio) \
demurred; demurring

Definition of demur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to take exception : object often used with to or at it would seem hazardous to demur to a proposition which is so widely accepted— Samuel Alexander
2 law : to file a demurrer
3 archaic : delay, hesitate



Definition of demur (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of objecting : protest rather than be brought into court he will pay without demur— G. B. Shaw
2 : hesitation (as in doing or accepting) usually based on doubt of the acceptability of something offered or proposed after some delay and demur, the door grudgingly turned on its hinges— Charles Dickens

Choose the Right Synonym for demur


qualm, scruple, compunction, demur mean a misgiving about what one is doing or going to do. qualm implies an uneasy fear that one is not following one's conscience or better judgment. no qualms about plagiarizing scruple implies doubt of the rightness of an act on grounds of principle. no scruples against buying stolen goods compunction implies a spontaneous feeling of responsibility or compassion for a potential victim. had compunctions about lying demur implies hesitation caused by objection to an outside suggestion or influence. accepted her decision without demur

Examples of demur in a Sentence

Verb She suggested that he would win easily, but he demurred, saying he expected the election to be close. don't hesitate to demur to the idea if you have any qualms Noun we accepted his offer to pay for our dinners without demur
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some Jews in New York also demur from focusing Jewish attention and energy on combating hate. Ben Sales,, 14 Sep. 2021 Other experts demur—Joseph Uscinski, who researches QAnon, believes that less than 5 percent of Americans support violence against the government. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, 30 Sep. 2020 But when asked who is at fault for the current situation, Abele demurred. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 Apr. 2020 In states without stay-at-home orders, Americans celebrate freedom as death toll climbs In the Trump administration's coronavirus task force briefings, Trump and task force leaders have demurred on issuing a national stay-at-home order. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2020 Biden, a former two-term vice president, however, demurred to local officials. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 2 Apr. 2020 After several pharmaceutical companies demurred, Yu oversaw manufacture of the drug himself. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, 3 Mar. 2020 Harriet Torry Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell demurred Tuesday when asked if the White House has ever communicated with him about the direction of interest rates. WSJ, 26 Feb. 2019 Some folks politely back away from an incoming pair of lips, demurring they don’t wish to spread their own germs. Catherine Bigelow,, 3 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trump has repeatedly griped to senators who visit about McConnell, asking who could be a new Senate Republican leader; many demur or just allow Trump to rant, one adviser said. Author: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2021 Asked to reveal a favorite garden moment, Anderson prefers to demur. Clint Clemens, Town & Country, 30 Apr. 2021 That would be Sinead Flanagan, a 27-year-old junior doctor, with dark hair and a demur, effervescent smile. David Segal, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2019 When someone asks Mihalko if Chevy thinks of the new Blazer as the Camaro of crossovers, the humble engineer demurs. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, 4 Feb. 2019 When someone asks Mihalko if Chevy thinks of the new Blazer as the Camaro of crossovers, the humble engineer demurs. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, 4 Feb. 2019

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for demur

Verb and Noun

Middle English demuren, demeren to linger, from Anglo-French demurer, demoerer, from Latin demorari, from de- + morari to linger, from mora delay — more at mora

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Time Traveler for demur

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The first known use of demur was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Demur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for demur



English Language Learners Definition of demur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to disagree politely with another person's statement or suggestion
: to politely refuse to accept a request or suggestion



English Language Learners Definition of demur (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of disagreeing about something


intransitive verb
de·​mur | \ di-ˈmər How to pronounce demur (audio) \
demurred; demurring

Legal Definition of demur

: to interpose a demurrer demur to the declaration

Other Words from demur

demurrable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on demur

Nglish: Translation of demur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demur for Arabic Speakers


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