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

Systemically, white women are seen as deserving of protection, whereas Black women are not. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "R. Kelly Docuseries Reminds Us That Not All Stories of Sexual Assault Are Treated Equally," 11 Jan. 2019 Having individual agency is strongly connected to the idea of a meritocracy, where the deserving are granted rewards. Jennifer Victor, Vox, "What good are elections, anyway?," 30 Oct. 2018 Although there is no doubt that both leading ladies are plenty deserving of the Emmy, many people were disappointed that Sandra didn't win. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Sandra Oh Didn't Win an Emmy Award Last Night and People Are Furious," 18 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Others have raised huge sums for a deserving someone, then made off with the donations. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Sometimes GoFundMe goes right, sometimes very wrong ... and sometimes, way off the rails," 13 Sep. 2018 The fan vote isn't perfect, and the players and managers always snub a deserving player. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "MLB All-Star voting opens Friday. Rangers better call in the Russians," 31 May 2018 Initially, said assistant district attorney Jared Mellott, who handled Cruz-Cuebas’s case, prosecutors worried that that jurors would view drug users as responsible for their own deaths, not as crime victims deserving justice. Aubrey Whelan,, "To fight opioid overdoses in a rural Pa. county, prosecutors charge drug dealers," 11 May 2018 The team features a trio of right-handed outfielders in Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Matt Kemp, with utility man Enrique Hernandez also deserving opportunities. Andy Mccullough,, "Dodgers stint likely over for Trayce Thompson after he is designated for assignment," 28 Mar. 2018 Ryan Coogler's groundbreaking and singular Black Panther couldn't be a more deserving record-breaker, testing the boundaries of what a Marvel movie can achieve both artistically and thematically. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "8 Snubs, Surprises, and New Records Set By The 2019 Oscar Nominations," 22 Jan. 2019 Give it away to the deserving poor, who may have no top to speak of. Daniel Ortberg, Vox, "The best $6,250 I ever spent: top surgery," 18 Dec. 2018 There are so many deserving dogs out there that need the awesome kind of home your friend provided to Jake. Lauren Ritchie,, "Dog lovers emerge to support owners who border collie was hit and left by the road," 7 June 2018 Some say other contestants were more deserving of the award, while others claim the 71-year-old's performance moved them to tears. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "71-Year-Old ‘America’s Got Talent’ Contestant Awarded Golden Buzzer and Fans Are NOT Happy," 1 Aug. 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

21 Jan 2019

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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.
used to say that someone or something should have or be given something + of


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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Comments on deserving

What made you want to look up deserving? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a servile follower or underling

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