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

coquettish, coy, kittenish

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

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 One early photo shows the artist in full Communion regalia, complete with white dress, veil, clasped hands in prayer, and a demure smile undermined by a pair of mischievous eyes. Lillian Dondero, ELLE Decor, "Fashionably Late: An Editor's Take on the Frida Kahlo Exhibit in Brooklyn," 27 Mar. 2019 The demure Princess Charlotte is posing quietly, with her arms around each of her parents. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "The Royal Family Christmas Card Photos Are Spectacular," 14 Dec. 2018 Her cornflower blue gown looked demure and clean at the front, with a strong angular and darted shoulder. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Charlize Theron Just Debuted New Brown Hair at the Oscars," 25 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, Kourtney opted for a slightly different fit: her black gown had a squared neckline that was slightly more demure, though the emphasis was on the clavicle bones. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West and Kourtney Kardashian Look More Alike Than Ever," 7 Feb. 2019 Whether bold and blunt, long and side-swept, choppy and tousled, or short and demure is your vibe, bangs are an amazing way to update your look without sacrificing the length of your hair. Hannah Morrill, Allure, "The 15 Best Hairstyles With Bangs to Try Right Now," 28 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries near demure

demulsify

demultiplexer

demur

demure

demurity

demurrage

demurral

Statistics for demure

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demure

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

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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

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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

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