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

Synonyms & Antonyms for demure


coquettish, coy, kittenish



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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

The choice of contrasting brights was an unusual one for the Duchess, as she can normally be seen in a more understated and demure color palette of nudes, black and navy—particularly when on official royal duties. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Bright Purple and Red Look Had a Sweet Connection to Princess Diana," 15 Jan. 2019 Her hair was slicked back giving the overall outfit a very demure vibe. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Went Braless in a Sheer Turtleneck," 23 Aug. 2018 So the 2018 sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, has enormous (but demure) shoes to fill. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Mary Poppins Returns — with a sadder story and forgettable songs," 12 Dec. 2018 The maid of honor at Princess Eugenie's wedding to Jack Brooksbank went with a beautiful yet surprisingly demure outfit today — with one twist. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Princess Beatrice Bucks Royal Tradition at Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Chromat and Gypsy Sport were among the few brands that disrupted the status quo by dressing models to show off their bodies in a diverse selection of bold looks, not just demure ones. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Rihanna's Savage X Fenty New York Fashion Week Show Celebrated Women," 13 Sep. 2018 The character is loving but fierce, and chafes at playing a NASA stereotype: the demure astronaut wife. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘First Man’: Ryan Gosling is stellar as astronaut Neil Armstrong," 8 Oct. 2018 For this morning's events, Meghan chose to wear a demure navy blue midi dress by Stella McCartney paired with dark pumps, which are reportedly Manolos and a statement necklace. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Chose a Navy Midi Dress by Stella McCartney on Her Final Day in New Zealand," 30 Oct. 2018 Interestingly, both opted to wear navy blue for the occasion, with Davy stepping out in a demure high-neck dress with lace detail, while Bonas opted for a bold black and blue print with contrasting red heels. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry's Ex-Girlfriends Chelsea Davy and Cressida Bonas Arrive at the Royal Wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank," 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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Statistics for demure

Last Updated

27 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for demure

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on demure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demure

Spanish Central: Translation of demure

Nglish: Translation of demure for Spanish Speakers

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irregularly rounded

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