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 atit 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

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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 When asked if testing would occur in these locations, Brown, the HUD spokesman, demurred. oregonlive, "Wyden, Merkley press HUD to address radon in public housing after Oregonian investigation," 5 Dec. 2019 Since then, Haley has demurred when asked about politics, even in news cycles that floated the notion of Trump replacing Vice President Mike Pence with Haley on the 2020 ticket. Washington Post, "Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?," 19 Nov. 2019 Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who also was in the Situation Room, demurred when asked about Trump's comments. Hope Yen And Calvin Woodward,, "Fact check: Did Trump hear the Islamic State leader die ‘whimpering and crying ... like a dog'? The Pentagon has no idea what he’s talking about.," 2 Nov. 2019 Elizabeth Warren, one of Zuckerberg's biggest critics, demurred when asked specifically on Monday about his outreach to Buttigieg's campaign according to CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Inside Mark Zukerberg's relationship with Pete Buttigieg," 21 Oct. 2019 Asked whether the White House would sign-off on sanctions against Turkey if Congress would authorize them, O'Brien demurred, pointing instead to the president's meeting with Erdogan on Wednesday. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "National security adviser "very concerned" about possible war crimes in Syria during Turkish offensive," 10 Nov. 2019 Some of the residents demurred, including journalist Jane Jacobs. Sam Rigby, Quartz, "The Scottish city trying to make urban living less miserable," 2 Nov. 2019 On Wednesday, Pence demurred when repeatedly asked about his awareness of conversations within the Trump administration over the allegations that gave rise to the impeachment inquiry. Vaughn Hillyard, NBC News, "Pence taking impeachment fight to vulnerable Democratic districts," 10 Oct. 2019 Williams demurred because he hadn’t hit for so long, and then let himself get talked into it. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Once Upon a Time, an American Athletic Star Bombed the Chi-Coms," 21 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That would be Sinead Flanagan, a 27-year-old junior doctor, with dark hair and a demur, effervescent smile. David Segal, New York Times, "Who’s Irish Now?," 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, "2019 Chevy Blazer Test Drive: What Happened When GM Tried To Make the Crossover Cool," 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, "2019 Chevy Blazer Test Drive: What Happened When GM Tried To Make the Crossover Cool," 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for demur

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Demur.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for demur


How to pronounce demur (audio)

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)

chiefly British, formal : an act of disagreeing about something
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on demur

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demur

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demur

Spanish Central: Translation of demur

Nglish: Translation of demur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demur for Arabic Speakers

Comments on demur

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to assail by words or arguments

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