1

emeritus

play

noun emer·i·tus \i-ˈmer-ə-təs\

Definition of emeritus

plural

emeriti

play \i-ˈmer-ə-ˌtī, -ˌtē\
  1. :  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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Circa 1701

First Known Use of emeritus

circa 1701

Other Forms of Address Terms


2

emeritus

adjective emer·i·tus

Definition of emeritus

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

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

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


First Known Use: 1794

Other Forms of Address Terms


EMERITUS Defined for English Language Learners

emeritus

adjective

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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