1 of 2


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

intransitive verb

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


2 of 2


: the act or an instance of objecting : protest
rather than be brought into court he will pay without demurG. B. Shaw
: 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 hingesCharles 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

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Risher demurred when asked if Lyft would be an independent company a year from now, after many industry-watchers initially thought news of his appointment was aimed at positioning the company for a sale. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN, 12 May 2023 When asked about the clear conflict, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise demurred. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 10 May 2023 But Ernst demurred on whether Haley being announced first was a signal of preference. Ali Vitali, NBC News, 10 May 2023 She is seen by some as duty-bound and approachable, and — unlike Diana — as someone who demurs from the limelight to let her husband shine. Adela Suliman, Washington Post, 6 May 2023 In a different interview, Fishback politely demurs from naming the BeyHive as the inspiration behind Ni’Jah acolytes at all. Tomi Obaro, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 Throughout their relationship, the pair kept details of their romance to themselves, demurring on engagement rumors in recent years. Jack Irvin, Peoplemag, 21 Apr. 2023 She was asked early on to do a nude scene but demurred. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Apr. 2023 Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra demurred when asked whether his agency would refuse to enforce the Texas decisions, something that politicians on the political left including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have called for. Christopher Rowland, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2023
After breaking his silence about the romance by refusing to speak about his girlfriend in an interview with British Vogue for its October 2018 issue, the actor continued to demur when prodded to speak about their undercover courtship. Nicole Sands, Peoplemag, 8 Apr. 2023 When pressed on the provenance of this fact most demur. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 4 Feb. 2013 King Charles, a very different character, would doubtless demur, having hated his time there. Time, 20 Sep. 2022 Officials in Beverly Hills would be happy to see the county demur on a mask mandate. Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 26 July 2022 Though the staff is quick to demur when asked about their celebrity clientele, my stay happens to coincide with that of a former boy band member and his actor wife. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, 21 Mar. 2022 To demur when called upon to defend that home from conquest is to willingly turn oneself into an exile. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 8 Mar. 2022 In the final shot, Murray gives the camera a close-lipped grin that would make the Joker and the Cheshire Cat demur. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, 20 Jan. 2022 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near demur

Cite this Entry

“Demur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
de·​mur di-ˈmər How to pronounce demur (audio)
demurred; demurring


2 of 2 noun
: the act of objecting : protest
accepted without demur

Legal Definition


intransitive verb
de·​mur di-ˈmər How to pronounce demur (audio)
demurred; demurring
: to interpose a demurrer
demur to the declaration
demurrable adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on demur

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