de·​mure | \di-ˈmyu̇r \

Definition of demure 

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : coy

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Other Words from demure

demurely adverb
demureness noun

Did You Know?

Demure has essentially remained unchanged in meaning since at least the 14th century. Its first recorded use in our language dates from the Middle English period (roughly the 12th to 15th centuries), a time when the native tongue of England was borrowing many new words from the French spoken by the Normans who gained control of the country after the Battle of Hastings. Demure might have been part of the French cultural exchange; etymologists think it may have derived from the Anglo-French verb demorer or demourer, meaning "to linger." During Shakespeare's time, demure was briefly used in English as a verb meaning "to look demurely," but only the older adjective form has survived to the present day.

Examples of demure in a Sentence

So even if you think you've moved past your reputation as The Rebel, two minutes after getting together with your more demure sister, you're likely to fall back into that hell-raiser role. — Jessica Mehalic, Cosmopolitan, August 2001 It looked as though the dress and capelet were one piece. It created a demure look, but if you take off the capelet, it's a seductive strapless dress. — Elizabeth Hayt, Vogue, December 1999 I made a lot of friends at Les Tourelles with whom I have kept in touch over the years. There was one darling little girl, much younger than the rest of us, who was sweet, demure, and quiet, with beautiful long hair like Alice in Wonderland. — Anna Russell, I'm Not Making This Up, You Know, 1985 She was wearing a demure gray suit. the demure charm of the cottage
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yesterday, Hadid debuted a decidedly demure new look in Tokyo (even trading her ever-present combat boots for loafers). Maria Ward, Vogue, "Did Emily Ratajkowski Just Kill Off the Crop Top?," 10 Apr. 2018 The book takes its time getting on the highway, and the slow pace is exacerbated by Katharine McEwan’s demure and deliberate narration, which drains some of the pungency from Hartman’s prose. Louis Bayard, New York Times, "Audiobooks for Summer Trips With the Kids," 28 May 2018 But the gown options Dror offers Markle attempt to combine her demure aesthetic with royal-friendly designs. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Royal Family Is Already Requesting Sketches for Meghan Markle's Wedding Dress," 19 Dec. 2017 Their history is being repeated in miniature by Camille’s young half sister, Amma (a captivating Eliza Scanlen), who is demure (like Adora) at home but wild and rebellious (like Camille) with her friends. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "‘Sharp Objects,’ a Mesmerizing Southern Thriller, Cuts Slow but Deep," 5 July 2018 Nadal stayed relatively demure during the match, but celebrated exuberantly once it was won. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "In Rome, a Semifinal Win for Rafael Nadal and a Big Step Forward for Novak Djokovic," 19 May 2018 The plain sheath, featuring three-quarter-length sleeves and a demure bateau neckline, was simply beautiful in its elegant simplicity. Elizabeth Wellington,, "Royal wedding fashion: Meghan Markle sparkles in Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy | Elizabeth Wellington," 19 May 2018 The below-the-knee length was appropriately demure for a monarch-in-training, while the off-center deep V up top was daring without revealing too much décolletage. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Meghan Markle's LBD is Under $400," 19 Apr. 2018 But don’t let that demure strand of pearls trick you into underestimating her. Laura Collins-hughes, New York Times, "Return Editions, with Magnetic Additions, Off Broadway," 9 Feb. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demure

Middle English

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Statistics for demure

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for demure

The first known use of demure was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for demure



English Language Learners Definition of demure

: quiet and polite

: not attracting or demanding a lot of attention : not showy or flashy


de·​mure | \di-ˈmyu̇r \

Kids Definition of demure

1 : proper and reserved in behavior and speech

2 : pretending to be proper and reserved : coy

Other Words from demure

demurely adverb

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Comments on demure

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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