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


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

Though the look was a lot more demure than her past red-carpet outfits, the novelty piece was definitely her mishmash of bottoms. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Gigi Hadid Wore a Skirt-Meets-Pants Look at the CFDA Awards," 4 June 2019 Cyrus is not exactly known to be demure — or a rule-follower. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Miley Cyrus says she doesn't want kids because "the earth can't handle it"," 12 July 2019 Amy Dickerson for The New York Times Forget demure ingénue. New York Times, "Awkwafina’s Makeup Revelation in the Subway: ‘I Looked Insane’," 25 June 2019 In a museum known for displaying the demure dresses of first ladies, there’s a provocative new outfit on view: a skimpy chrome and rubber S&M harness that was worn by a gay activist at several recent San Francisco Pride marches. Washington Post, "14 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 24 June 2019 The bread and butter pickle chip, demure and sweet, hides amid the fattier layers of a cheeseburger, begging not to be noticed or, worse, plucked out. Samantha Allen, Condé Nast Traveler, "New York City's Unofficial Gathering Spot for Pickle Lovers," 10 June 2019 While Amelia Bloomer’s name became a punchline, Susan B. Anthony would be remembered for a much different fashion statement: a demure red shawl, one example of which survives in the Smithsonian. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, The Atlantic, "When American Suffragists Tried to ‘Wear the Pants’," 12 June 2019 Chunks of golden glitter amped up the slightly more demure — if a blush named Orgasm can be described as such — shimmer for a 2.0 take on a modern classic. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Nars Is Releasing a New Orgasm Makeup Collection for the Iconic Shade’s 20th Anniversary," 9 Apr. 2019 Other major trends this season include demure kitten heels, woven shoes, and versatile slingbacks. Teen Vogue, "These Are The Spring Shoe Trends To Add To Your Cart," 6 Apr. 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.

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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

11 Aug 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 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

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

Comments on demure

What made you want to look up demure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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