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

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 He will be honored with the title of chairman emeritus effective June 26. Angela Helm, The Root, "Mellody Hobson Will Become Starbucks’ No. 2 When Howard Schultz Steps Down," 5 June 2018 These might include a warning letter, salary reduction, suspension, demotion, changes to emeritus status or, in extremely rare cases, dismissal. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "Report finds past harassment by UC professor, but punishment lags," 22 May 2018 In the summer and fall of 2016, Halper, then an emeritus professor at Cambridge, contacted three Trump campaign advisers for brief talks and meetings that largely centered on foreign policy, The Washington Post reported last week. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "After Texas school shooting, Steve Scalise says removing prayer 'one of the problems': report," 22 May 2018 Yet another promising program is Supporting Father Involvement by Philip Cowan, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Joyce Y. Lee And Shawna J. Lee, Houston Chronicle, "Study: Fathers are forgotten by parenting programs," 17 June 2018 Former University of Oregon architecture professor Don Peting, emeritus professor of architecture at the University of Oreogn. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "Tinker Hatfield and supporters of Hayward Field's east grandstand meet," 9 June 2018 In the summer and fall of 2016, Halper, then an emeritus professor at Cambridge, contacted three Trump campaign advisers for brief talks and meetings that largely centered on foreign policy, The Washington Post reported last week. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "After Texas school shooting, Steve Scalise says removing prayer 'one of the problems': report," 22 May 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

Statistics for emeritus

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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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