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

Definition of demure

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : coy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from demure

demurely adverb
demureness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demure



  • uncoy
Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Afraid he would get frustrated with Wafa’s sass, Kassim urged her to be more demure. Caitlin Dwyer, Longreads, 29 May 2021 The classic color is demure by nature, but the peek-a-boo detail commands attention like no other. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, 23 Apr. 2021 Jaeger Le-Coultre’s new Reverso is demure yet replete with 11 complications. Michael Clerizo, WSJ, 16 Apr. 2021 Naturally demure, even shy, the soul star was also proud, suffering no fools and asserting her will as needed. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 18 Mar. 2021 Spears was wholesome and demure with a touch of coy distance, all hallmarks of a southern Christian upbringing. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 17 Feb. 2021 Mayflower makes Ken Kesey’s Mildred Ratched look positively demure. Andrea Cuttler, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Nov. 2020 Not as sleek and demure as the Japanese counterpart, however; the SNES maintained some adherence to an American need for bulk and solidity. Dia Lacina, Wired, 5 Nov. 2020 Because who says a bow's oft-demure nature doesn't play well with hints of va-va-voom? Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 16 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of demure

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for demure

Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about demure

Time Traveler for demure

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about demure

Statistics for demure

Last Updated

31 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on demure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demure

Nglish: Translation of demure for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!