noun emer·i·tus \ i-ˈmer-ə-təs \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

Definition of emeritus

plural emeriti play \i-ˈmer-ə-ˌtī, -ˌtē\
: a person retired from professional life but permitted to retain as an honorary title the rank of the last office held

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First Known Use of emeritus

circa 1701

in the meaning defined above

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Other Forms of Address Terms




Definition of emeritus

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

Recent Examples of emeritus from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of emeritus

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

Other Forms of Address Terms

EMERITUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of emeritus for English Language Learners

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

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excessive admiration or flattery

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