de·​serv·​ing | \ di-ˈzər-viŋ How to pronounce deserving (audio) \

Definition of deserving

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: desert, merit reward the proud according to their deservings— Charles Kingsley



Definition of deserving (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having good qualities that deserve praise, support, etc. : meritorious, worthy rewarding deserving workers scholarships for deserving students
2 : appropriately having or being given something specified used with of a proposal deserving of support [=a proposal that deserves support]a criminal deserving of punishment

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Other Words from deserving


deservingly adverb
deservingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for deserving

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of deserving in a Sentence

Adjective He's a very deserving young man. The church provides aid to deserving families.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Forget that the Hornets were awarded the possession and timeout for a second, Green went off in an untoward manner that has been confirmed by NBA review in deserving of two technical fouls. Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors' Draymond Green says he was 'dead-ass wrong' for getting ejected Saturday," 22 Feb. 2021 This award is for writing that demonstrates achievement deserving of regional recognition. cleveland, "Accomplishments worthy of warm applause: Sun Messages," 18 Jan. 2021 Goodwill Industries, Meals on Wheels, San Diego Foundation’s COVID 19 Community Response Fund and the YWCA of San Diego County, which runs domestic abuse shelters, are among the lucky — and deserving — recipients. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: World’s third richest woman gives to San Diego charities," 16 Dec. 2020 But just as deserving of praise is Andrew Berry, the team’s first-time executive vice president and general manager who wields control over all roster decisions. Daniel Oyefusi,, "For Browns GM Andrew Berry, path to NFL started in Bel Air — and nearly ended on Wall Street," 11 Dec. 2020 But was the performance deserving of the opportunity to start? Mark Inabinett |, al, "Jalen Hurts could make his first NFL start for Eagles on Sunday," 8 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, Bergh’s movement reminded Americans that horses were not unfeeling machines but partners in building and running the modern city—vulnerable creatures capable of suffering and deserving of the law’s protection. Ernest Freeberg, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Horse Flu Epidemic Brought That 19th-Century America to a Stop," 4 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, Bergh’s movement reminded Americans that horses were not unfeeling machines but partners in building and running the modern city – vulnerable creatures capable of suffering and deserving of the law’s protection. Ernest Freeberg, The Conversation, "How a flu virus shut down the US economy in 1872 – by infecting horses," 3 Dec. 2020 Ivy Lin is an antiheroine deserving of the name, both reprehensible and sympathetic. Marion Winik, Star Tribune, "Review: 'White Ivy,' by Susie Yang," 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But regardless of Galligan’s culpability, institutions such as the University of Tennessee and the New York Times are far more deserving of scorn than either of these Virginia teens. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "How a Vindictive Classmate and a Cowardly University Ruined a Girl’s Life," 30 Dec. 2020 The book offers striving readers the chance to imagine ourselves as better actors, more appreciative and deserving of the riches on display. Hillary Kelly, The New Yorker, "“The Age of Innocence” at a Moment of Increased Appetite for Eating the Rich," 26 Dec. 2020 The hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Ladi Kukoyi, said no one was more deserving than the men who got their shots Tuesday. CBS News, "Ex-POWs the first vets to get COVID vaccine at Alabama VA hospital," 16 Dec. 2020 Mary was brilliant at that, and her entrance into the Hall of Fame could not be more deserving. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Albom: Mary Schroeder took iconic photo of Kirk Gibson. He repaid the favor, 36 years later," 17 Dec. 2020 There are many who are more deserving to be vaccinated before politicians. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Conservatism and liberalism, COVID vaccine distribution, health workers, crime," 10 Dec. 2020 Not only that, but this new virtual format proves to be prime feel-good entertainment, as Dr. Lee video chats with some of the most deserving patients the show's ever seen. Megan Decker,, "Dr. Pimple Popper," 21 Oct. 2020 College athletes are not more deserving of their dreams than those who have postponed weddings, or attempted remote learning for their kids, or held virtual funerals rather than gathering in person. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Is College Football Making the Pandemic Worse?," 25 Nov. 2020 Then Joe and his staff built just the right atmosphere to allow the players to turn those plans into a reality for the most deserving fans in the world. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Read Theo Epstein’s note to the Chicago Cubs: ‘As for what I will do next, I’m not precisely sure, though I have a few things in mind’," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deserving.' 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 deserving


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for deserving

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

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Statistics for deserving

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deserving.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for deserving



English Language Learners Definition of deserving

: having good qualities that deserve praise, support, etc.
used to say that someone or something should have or be given something + of


de·​serv·​ing | \ di-ˈzər-viŋ How to pronounce deserving (audio) \

Kids Definition of deserving

: worthy sense 2 The scholarship will go to a deserving student.

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