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

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • uncoy
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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 Naturally demure, even shy, the soul star was also proud, suffering no fools and asserting her will as needed. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "'Genius: Aretha': Onscreen drama, outside intrigue, as a legend comes to life on NatGeo," 18 Mar. 2021 Spears was wholesome and demure with a touch of coy distance, all hallmarks of a southern Christian upbringing. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, "Failing Britney Spears," 17 Feb. 2021 Mayflower makes Ken Kesey’s Mildred Ratched look positively demure. Andrea Cuttler, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jessie Buckley Is Ready to Tell Her Own Story," 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, "The Evolution of Game Console Design—and American Gamers," 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, "Kirsten Dunst Steps Out in Fall's Chicest Transitional Hair Accessory," 16 Aug. 2019 But perhaps these demure little creatures have shirked the spotlight for far too long. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hero Shrews’ Extreme, Superstrong Backbones Are the Stuff of Legend," 30 Apr. 2020 Typically paired with white Keds and white ankle socks (how demure!), the dresses evoked a certain prairie prep. Elizabeth Fallin, Country Living, "'80s Laura Ashley Dresses Are Now Worth Hundreds on Etsy and eBay," 10 Apr. 2020 Never demure on stage, always packing a punch with booming vocals, boundary-busting artist Big Freedia enthralled Houston fans with 'bounce domination' at House of Blues on Friday night. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Big Freedia and The Suffers bring raw energy and soulful sound to Houston's House of Blues," 18 Jan. 2020

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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demure. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for demure

demure

adjective

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

More from Merriam-Webster on demure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demure

Nglish: Translation of demure for Spanish Speakers

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