de·​port·​ment di-ˈpȯrt-mənt How to pronounce deportment (audio)
: the manner in which one conducts (see conduct entry 1 sense 2) oneself : behavior
were instructed in proper dress and deportment
His features are strong and masculine …, all his motions graceful, and his deportment majestic.Jonathan Swift

Did you know?

Deportment evolved from the verb deport, meaning "to behave especially in accord with a code," which in turn came to us through Middle French from Latin deportare, meaning "to carry away." (You may also know deport as a verb meaning "to send out of the country"; that sense is newer and is derived directly from Latin deportare.) Deportment can simply refer to one's demeanor, or it can refer to behavior formed by breeding or training and often conforming to conventional rules of propriety: "Are you not gratified that I am so rapidly gaining correct ideas of female propriety and sedate deportment?" wrote 17-year-old Emily Dickinson to her brother Austin.

Choose the Right Synonym for deportment

bearing, deportment, demeanor, mien, manner, carriage mean the outward manifestation of personality or attitude.

bearing is the most general of these words but now usually implies characteristic posture.

a woman of regal bearing

deportment suggests actions or behavior as formed by breeding or training.

your deportment was atrocious

demeanor suggests one's attitude toward others as expressed in outward behavior.

the haughty demeanor of the headwaiter

mien is a literary term referring both to bearing and demeanor.

a mien of supreme self-satisfaction

manner implies characteristic or customary way of moving and gesturing and addressing others.

the imperious manner of a man used to giving orders

carriage applies chiefly to habitual posture in standing or walking.

the kind of carriage learned at boarding school

Examples of deportment in a Sentence

The new students were instructed in proper dress and deportment. His stiff deportment matched his strict demeanor.
Recent Examples on the Web There were no deportment classes, no one telling me to stand, as my mother’s generation did, with my shoulders back and chest out. Thessaly La Force, Vogue, 18 Jan. 2024 She was bought from an orphanage at age 4 by a goldsmith and his wife, raised as a kind of pet with lessons in singing and dancing and deportment, and given charge of their second child, a daughter with multiple physical and mental challenges. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 The tweets probably won't discuss the leaders' deportment. Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2023 Regal deportment; swift, silent drivetrain. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 2 Jan. 2023 Diana, meanwhile, is left alone and bored in Buckingham Palace, where she’s meant to learn the rules of court etiquette and deportment. Anne Cohen,, 17 Nov. 2020 At a time of bombast and insults, his deportment has been invariably civil and courtly. The Editors, National Review, 27 Oct. 2022 The Taliban show no sign of easing a crackdown not only on such basic rights as education and jobs for women, but on every facet of public life, from deportment to travel. David Zucchino,, 21 May 2022 Those were apparently old and quaint rules of deportment. John Zogby, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deportment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see deport

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deportment was in 1601


Dictionary Entries Near deportment

Cite this Entry

“Deportment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​port·​ment di-ˈpōrt-mənt How to pronounce deportment (audio)
: manner of conducting oneself : behavior

More from Merriam-Webster on deportment

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