demure

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

Definition of demure

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : coy

Other Words from demure

demurely adverb
demureness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for demure

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • uncoy
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In the nearly four centuries that demure has been in use, its meaning has only shifted slightly. While it began solely as a descriptive term for people of quiet modesty and sedate reserve—those who don't draw attention to themselves, whether because of a shy nature or determined self-control—it came to be applied also to those whose modesty and reservation is more affectation than sincere expression. While demure sounds French and entered the language at a time when the native tongue of England was borrowing many French words from the Normans who gained control of the country after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the etymological evidence requires that we exercise restraint: the word's origin remains obscure.

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
Recent Examples on the Web Princess Diana looked as demure as ever in a teal-and-white Catherine Walker suit and Philip Somerville hat while visiting the Heliopolis War Cemetery in Cairo. Catherine Santino, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 And Selina might as well be wearing a white veil the whole movie; that’s how demure and pure of heart she is written to be. Natalia Winkelman, BostonGlobe.com, 29 June 2022 As a result, bridesmaids’ dresses have remained classic and demure, with pastel, dusty, and neutral colors reigning in the market. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 29 June 2022 Velvet Buzzsaw star Ashton was extremely demure about her rock at the BAFTAs last weekend, keeping her ring finger hidden under her sleeve, which... Emma Specter, Vogue, 18 Mar. 2022 The boxy fit and exaggerated bow closures on this option are demure but not overly saccharine. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Apr. 2022 But even in Sport+ mode, at legal(ish) and reasonable speeds, the Type S plants itself on the refined and demure side of the supercar spectrum. Matt Farah, Car and Driver, 3 May 2022 Among her trademarks are an engaging smile and demure wave to the camera at the start of a game; tattoos including Talking Heads song lyrics, and attire that's on the serious side but with a touch of personal flair. CBS News, 30 Apr. 2022 Though her oversized leather jacket allowed for some modesty, Rihanna’s bump reveal was a provocative take on a piece that could easily read demure with different styling. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near demure

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demure. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for demure

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

Nglish: Translation of demure for Spanish Speakers

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