merit

1 of 2

noun

mer·​it ˈmer-ət How to pronounce merit (audio)
ˈme-rət
plural merits
1
a
: a praiseworthy quality : virtue
But originality, as it is one of the highest, is also one of the rarest, of merits.Edgar Allan Poe
b
: character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem
also : achievement
… he composed a number of works of merit. H. E. Starr
c
: a person's qualities, actions, etc. regarded as indicating what the person deserves to receive
Opinions of his merit vary.
Admissions officers judge one's merit by looking at one's past accomplishments and circumstances. But merit is not just about one's past—it is about one's future potential.Michelle I. Gao
d
obsolete : reward or punishment due
2
a
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
3
: 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 meritJacques Barzun
meritless
ˈmer-ət-ləs How to pronounce merit (audio)
ˈme-rət-
adjective

merit

2 of 2

verb

merited; meriting; merits

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

1
2
obsolete : to be entitled to reward or honor

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Long's claim that the return vents will pull heat from the second-story ceiling might have some merit, but ultimately this depends on how your home is built, the type and effectiveness of your heating and cooling system, and the temperature conditions in your area. Mary Cornetta, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 July 2024 Now, though, a growing body of research on ASMR—Dartmouth College and Ohio State University are among those studying it—backs the psychological merits of the phenomenon. Nicole Gull McElroy, WIRED, 13 July 2024
Verb
After the season, the Cleveland Indians named Robinson the sport’s first Black manager — meriting a congratulatory telegram from President Gerald Ford. Frederic J. Frommer, Washington Post, 15 July 2024 In their view, the threat posed by China merits strong retaliation. Beth Greenfield, Fortune, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for merit 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'merit.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

Middle French meriter, from merite merit entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1526, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of merit was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near merit

Cite this Entry

“Merit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merit. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

merit

1 of 2 noun
mer·​it ˈmer-ət How to pronounce merit (audio)
1
: the qualities or actions that determine one's worthiness of reward or punishment
were rewarded according to merit
2
: a quality worthy of praise : virtue
the merit of honesty
3
: worth entry 2 sense 2, value
your idea has great merit
4
: individual significance or justification
the accusation is without merit
meritless adjective

merit

2 of 2 verb
: to earn by service or performance : deserve

Legal Definition

merit

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

More from Merriam-Webster on merit

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