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

The main complaint from displeased viewers seemed to be that Jay Jay and Darius were more deserving of landing in the top four. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'So You Think You Can Dance' Fans Are Flipping Out Over Last Night's Results," 28 Aug. 2018 There are so many stories and there are so many people with such deserving stories. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "How a Former Glamour College Woman of the Year Helped Break the Alice Johnson Story," 13 July 2018 Students deserving Latin honors and distinction do not receive a reward. WSJ, "The Trouble With Grade Inflation Runs from A to D," 9 July 2018 With ten days left in their campaign, which closes July 19th, Sones and her team are poised to rally customers to continue buying Lipslut lipsticks and donate to the deserving cause., "This Lipstick Brand Has Donated Over $100,000 To Help Reunite Migrant Families," 9 July 2018 Vera Rubin was another deserving female scientist who never received a 3 a.m. call from Sweden. Brian Keating, WIRED, "There's Nothing Noble about Science’s Nobel Prize Gender Gap," 27 May 2018 Industry professionals and at-home movie watchers alike were furious about the lack of diversity in the nominations, as many deserving actors of color were noticeably excluded. Hannah Chubb, Marie Claire, "Hashtag Activism: A Timeline," 24 May 2018 And Harris plays with a more deserving teammate (center Andre Drummond) who could get the call when the balloting from the league’s coaches is announced. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Can Pistons' Tobias Harris unlock the key to future All-Star berths?," 22 Jan. 2018 Torres is a wonderful talent with a bright future but not as deserving as Lowrie, not with just 63 big-league games to his name. John Shea,, "Yes, A’s Jed Lowrie is an All Star, but player voting needs fixing," 10 July 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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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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