de·serv·ing | \ -ˈzər-viŋ \

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

good, meritorious, worthy

Antonyms: Adjective

no-good, undeserving, valueless, worthless

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Examples of deserving in a Sentence


He's a very deserving young man. The church provides aid to deserving families.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Massachusetts bill signing had all the pomp deserving of a major piece of legislation. Joshua Miller,, "One thing missing from the ‘grand bargain’ bill signing? The grand bargainers," 28 June 2018 Whatever Bowen has done, and whatever infractions may have been committed during his recruitment, college basketball players are as deserving of due process as any other citizen. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "NCAA makes Brian Bowen seem a victim | Tim Sullivan," 30 May 2018 Supporters of Trump's efforts to crack down on would-be refugees agree that some are deserving of American goodwill. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Fewer Americans believe U.S. should accept refugees," 24 May 2018 His fever was now a hundred and three, and he was badly dehydrated, so Brother Infirmarian, against his instincts and principles, admitted him as a patient deserving of antibiotics and his devoted attention. John L’heureux, The New Yorker, "The Long Black Line," 14 May 2018 But politicians talk of immigrants as a monolithic group deserving of a single, partisan response. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Britain taps the son of a Pakistani bus driver to shape immigration policy," 1 May 2018 Will these lab-grown constructs achieve any sort of consciousness deserving of protection? Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Human brain cells can make complex structures in a dish—is this a problem?," 28 Apr. 2018 While this year’s tackle class is mediocre, with two NFL scouts telling the Free Press there isn’t a tackle deserving of a first-round grade, the interior line crop is both deep and diverse. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions could take advantage of deep interior OL class in NFL draft," 22 Apr. 2018 The Harts’ story is an extreme example but an example, nonetheless, of yet another way our society treats black children as less deserving of protection. Stacey Patton, Washington Post, "We can’t ignore race in the tragic story of Devonte Hart and his white adoptive mothers," 6 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Students do not produce items for judging, but teachers nominate deserving students. Elaine Rooker Jack, The Courier-Journal, "24 local students receive awards in PTA contests unique to Kentucky," 13 July 2018 Every person was a precious individual made in the image of God and deserving of care. Greg Garrison,, "Remembering Billy Graham: Alabamians share personal stories of legendary evangelist," 21 Feb. 2018 White people are assumed to be safer, more deserving, smarter, and more capable than everyone else., "Sorry To Bother You," 10 July 2018 Ozzie Albies is the likely fans' choice to start at second base, while Scooter Gennett - perhaps the best and lone Reds player on the roster - is more deserving, batting a league-leading .331 while putting up a better OPS (.898 to .876) than Baez. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Five players who should be easy calls as first-time MLB All-Stars," 5 July 2018 Universal credit was conceived in the late 2000s as a fairly generous scheme that would establish the Tories as champions of the deserving poor, rather than the misers many working-class voters believed them to be. The Economist, "Britain’s switch to a “universal credit” is not going well," 31 May 2018 Parham: That’s fair, Brendan—a subtler, quieter, more relatable Star Wars could rightfully usher the franchise into a more deserving phase. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "We Really Need to Talk About That Solo: A Star Wars Story Twist," 28 May 2018 That’s a lot worse — and well deserving of an exclamation mark. Mark Feeney,, "Before there was ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ . . .," 28 June 2018 Migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees, even those Hungary recognizes as deserving protection, already have been affected by Orban’s uncompromising policies. Washington Post, "Laws to deter asylum-seekers, aid workers passed in Hungary," 20 June 2018

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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Statistics for deserving

Last Updated

2 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for deserving

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

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More Definitions for deserving



English Language Learners Definition of deserving

: having good qualities that deserve praise, support, etc.


de·serv·ing | \ di-ˈzər-viŋ \

Kids Definition of deserving

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

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to make amends

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