merit

noun
mer·​it | \ ˈmer-ət How to pronounce merit (audio) , ˈme-rət\

Definition of merit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a obsolete : reward or punishment due
b : the qualities or actions that constitute the basis of one's deserts Opinions of his merit vary.
c : a praiseworthy quality : virtue but originality, as it is one of the highest, is also one of the rarest, of merits— E. A. Poe
d : character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem also : achievement composed a number of works of merit — H. E. Starr
2 : spiritual credit held to be earned by performance of righteous acts and to ensure future benefits the Crusades … did serve the desire to gain spiritual merit— Jacques Barzun
3a merits plural : the substance of a legal case apart from matters of jurisdiction, procedure, or form the plaintiff … is entitled to have its claim decided here on its merits— T. M. Maddes
b : individual significance or justification (see justification sense 1) the contention is without merit— E. B. Denny

merit

verb
merited; meriting; merits

Definition of merit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be worthy of or entitled or liable to : earn

intransitive verb

1 obsolete : to be entitled to reward or honor
2 : deserve

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Other Words from merit

Noun

meritless \ -​ləs How to pronounce meritless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for merit

Synonyms: Noun

cardinal virtue, distinction, excellence, excellency, grace, value, virtue

Synonyms: Verb

deserve, earn, rate

Antonyms: Noun

deficiency, demerit, disvalue

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Examples of merit in a Sentence

Noun

She saw merit in both of the arguments. The study has no scientific merit.

Verb

Both ideas merit further consideration. These issues merit special attention. His good work merits a raise. She did well enough to merit a second interview. The attention she received was not merited.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Left to posterity to be judged on their own merits, her novels have enjoyed sporadic revivals. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Black and White, in Wind and Fog," 22 Feb. 2019 That means clean energy is increasingly competitive on its economic merits. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Climate and energy news in 2018 actually wasn’t all bad," 1 Jan. 2019 The Supreme Court blocked the plan from going into effect until a lower court can rule on its merits. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "The Future of Former EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Anti-Science Legacy," 6 July 2018 The objects here deserve to be looked at on their own merits, which need not mean without technological support. New York Times, "The Art of Staying Cool: 10 Can’t-Miss Summer Shows in New York," 4 July 2018 That means they must be named by top political appointees, the court said, not hired by other judges tasked by the agency to select them based on merit. David G. Savage, latimes.com, "Supreme Court ducks decision on whether president has the power to fire any top federal official," 21 June 2018 In response, Congress created a civil service in which hiring was based on merit, in the belief that only a workforce free from political interference could earn public trust. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Trump vs. the “Deep State”," 14 May 2018 Meanwhile, many, like Naledi, don’t get a chance to rise or fall on academic merit. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "For South Africa's students, college means promise – if they can get there," 23 Apr. 2018 When civic leaders traveled to New York to pitch investors on the merits of downtown L.A. in 2002, real estate mogul Donald Trump weighed in. Roger Vincent, latimes.com, "Its design has been scorned, but L.A. Live has been crucial to downtown's resurgence," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tactics include infiltrating social media, spreading propaganda and using other forms of subversion and espionage — all without rising to the level of an armed attack that would merit a military response. Washington Post, "H.R. McMaster delivers a parting shot to Russia as he prepares to bow out as national security adviser," 5 Apr. 2018 League officials told the group that there were only about 10 plays across the league in 2017 that would merit ejections. Albert Breer, SI.com, "NFL’s New Targeting Rule Expected To Be Only a Minor Adjustment for Teams," 28 Mar. 2018 But, Kerry suggested, Trump's presidency is different, and actually poses genuine problems that merit finding a new chief executive. Gregg Re, Fox News, "John Kerry condemns bids to 'destroy' presidents, then suggests Trump unfit for office," 10 Sep. 2018 At this point, the notion of duality — male-meets-female, soft-meets-strong, underwear-as-outerwear — is essentially an overdone fashion trope that hardly merits mention. Adam Tschorn, latimes.com, "Paris Fashion Week trend takeaway: pops of purple, silver belles, giant jackets, winter florals and haute hybrids," 9 Mar. 2018 Key races that could determine control of each chamber might be close enough to drag out over the following days, even meriting recounts (and the inevitable legal battles that come with them). Andrew Prokop, Vox, "It could take days — or weeks — to find out which party won Congress," 6 Nov. 2018 But no woman could ever walk the tightrope of respectability narrowly enough to merit this administration’s belief. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Do Women Have to Do to Be Believed?," 20 Sep. 2018 Scott Beaumont, Google’s head of operations in China and one of the key architects of Dragonfly, did not view Zunger’s concerns as significant enough to merit a change of course, according to four people who worked on the project. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 Doing it with a car that must perform and handle well, one that can merit a warranty and that can be assembled at reasonable cost is, well, trickier. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "The Engineers Turning an Old Volvo Concept Into a $155,000 Hybrid," 18 June 2018

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1526, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for merit

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French merite, from Latin meritum, from neuter of meritus, past participle of merēre to deserve, earn; akin to Greek meiresthai to receive as one's portion, meros part

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Statistics for merit

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for merit

The first known use of merit was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for merit

merit

noun

English Language Learners Definition of merit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a good quality or feature that deserves to be praised
formal : the quality of being good, important, or useful : value or worth

merit

verb

English Language Learners Definition of merit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to deserve (something, such as attention or good treatment) by being important or good

merit

noun
mer·​it | \ ˈmer-ət How to pronounce merit (audio) \

Kids Definition of merit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the condition or fact of deserving reward or punishment Students are graded according to merit.
2 : worth entry 2 sense 1, value “Your suggestion has merit,” he said.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat
3 : a quality worthy of praise : virtue the merit of honesty

merit

verb
merited; meriting

Kids Definition of merit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be worthy of or have a right to Both ideas merit further consideration.

merit

noun
mer·​it | \ ˈmer-ət How to pronounce merit (audio) \

Legal Definition of merit

1  plural : the substance of a case apart from matters of jurisdiction, procedure, or form a ruling on the merits of the case — see also judgment on the merits at judgment sense 1a
2 : legal significance, standing, or worth an argument without merit

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More from Merriam-Webster on merit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with merit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for merit

Spanish Central: Translation of merit

Nglish: Translation of merit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of merit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on merit

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