emeritus

noun
emer·​i·​tus | \i-ˈmer-ə-təs \
plural emeriti\i-​ˈmer-​ə-​ˌtī, -​ˌtē \

Definition of emeritus 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a person retired from professional life but permitted to retain as an honorary title the rank of the last office held

emeritus

adjective

Definition of emeritus (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : holding after retirement an honorary title corresponding to that held last during active service

2 : retired from an office or position professor emeritus converted to emeriti after a plural professors emeriti

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Did You Know?

Adjective

The adjective emeritus is unusual in two ways: it's frequently used postpositively (that is, after the noun it modifies), and it has a plural form—emeriti—when it modifies a plural noun in its second sense. If you've surmised from these qualities that the word is Latin in origin, you are correct. Emeritus, which is the Latin past participle of the verb emereri, meaning "to serve out one's term," was originally used to describe soldiers who had completed their duty. (Emereri is from the prefix e-, meaning "out," and merēre, meaning "to earn, deserve, or serve"—also the source of our English word merit.) By the early 18th century, English speakers were using emeritus as an adjective to refer to professors who had retired from office. The word eventually came to be applied to other professions where a retired member may continue to hold a title in an honorary capacity.

Examples of emeritus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The issue was reported in a briefing paper produced by a consultancy run by Carlyle Thayer, an expert on Southeast Asia and emeritus professor at Australia's University of New South Wales. Christopher Bodeen, Fox News, "Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea," 27 Aug. 2018 Randolph Henning Hokanson, 103, a pianist and emeritus professor at the University of Washington, died Oct. 18. Seattle Times Staff & News Services, The Seattle Times, "This week’s passages," 26 Oct. 2018 However, Thompson will continue to advise the company as emeritus CTO. Lilly Milman, Billboard, "Kobalt Music Appoints Rian Liebenberg as CTO, Richard Thompson Steps Down," 6 July 2018 His honorary title will be chairman emeritus, according to Starbucks. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz quits," 4 June 2018 Levine, who turns 75 next month, was the Met’s music director and/or artistic director from 1976 to 2016 before the shift to an emeritus position, and was also music director for the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. Ronald Blum, BostonGlobe.com, "Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people," 19 May 2018 Boulez assumed the title of emeritus conductor following Bernard Haitink’s becoming principal conductor in 2006. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "Honoring Pierre Boulez, the titan of modernism who opened the ears of Chicagoans to the music of our time," 15 May 2018 Olszewski is emeritus professor of art history at Case Western Reserve University. Roxanne Washington, cleveland.com, "CWRU professor explores origins of Cleveland's 'Free Stamp' in new book (photos)," 10 Jan. 2018 However, he was not given emeritus status and will not be able to attend Dartmouth events no matter where they are held. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Dartmouth professor in misconduct probe will retire and be barred from college events," 14 June 2018

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

Noun

circa 1701, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emeritus

Adjective

Latin, past participle of emereri to serve out one's term, from e- + mereri, merēre to earn, deserve, serve — more at merit

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Dictionary Entries near emeritus

Emerillon

emerita

emerited

emeritus

emerize

emerod

emersal

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Time Traveler for emeritus

The first known use of emeritus was circa 1701

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More Definitions for emeritus

emeritus

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of emeritus

: retired with an honorary title from an office or position especially in a university

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Britannica English: Translation of emeritus for Arabic Speakers

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