demure

adjective
de·​mure | \ di-ˈmyu̇r How to pronounce demure (audio) \

Definition of demure

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : coy

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Other Words from demure

demurely adverb
demureness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demure

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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 For Khaite's spring 2020 show, hairstylist Eugene Souleiman gave models a demure center part, then braided thin sections of hair and attached a strand of pearls to each. Paige Stables, Allure, "How to Incorporate Pearls, the Season's Hottest Hair Accessory, Into Your Own Look," 15 Feb. 2020 Though the exteriors remain impeccably demure, the interiors, by Cesare Barro, are a cheerful crusade of color and contrasts. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Italy's Forgotten Palazzos Make for an Opulent Road Trip," 9 Feb. 2020 The excavations unearthed hundreds of different female forms, ranging from demure matrons to nubile veiled dancers and girls at play. National Geographic, "These lovely little statues enchanted ancient Greece," 29 Jan. 2020 Simple goodbyes become a dance of bowing and nodding in an exercise of demure grace. John Branch, New York Times, "Japan’s Skateboarders Roll, Warily, Out of the Shadows," 26 Jan. 2020 Why so suddenly demure about the prospects of being stripped of his jersey? Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "The problem with Drew Pearson’s HOF snub, why the Mavs should make a trade and the latest Astros fallout," 19 Jan. 2020 Paris Bloom is a direct-to-consumer fashion designer of demure dresses for women. Kelly Zive, Cincinnati.com, "Paris Bloom donates 50 new work-appropriate dresses to Dress For Success Cincinnati," 10 Jan. 2020 Kravitz, whose wedding weekend fashion first made headlines when she was captured by paparazzi in a , chose a Wang design that was more demure than people might expect from the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Alexander Wang on Zoë Kravitz’s Wedding Dress and Why He’d “Never Say Never” to a Bridal Collection," 3 Jan. 2020 Today, however, Princess Beatrice traded in extravagance for something slightly more demure, so the attention would be all on her lil sis. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Princess Beatrice Wore a Ralph & Russo Dress to Princess Eugenie's Wedding," 12 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for demure

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

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Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demure. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for demure

demure

adjective
How to pronounce demure (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of demure

: quiet and polite
: not attracting or demanding a lot of attention : not showy or flashy

demure

adjective
de·​mure | \ di-ˈmyu̇r How to pronounce demure (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on demure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demure

Spanish Central: Translation of demure

Nglish: Translation of demure for Spanish Speakers

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