1

merit

noun mer·it \ ˈmer-ət , ˈme-rət \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of merit

1 a 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
3 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 1)
  • the contention is without merit
  • —E. B. Denny

meritless

play \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of merit in a Sentence

  1. She saw merit in both of the arguments.

  2. The study has no scientific merit.

Recent Examples of merit from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of merit

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


2

merit

verb

Definition of merit

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

Examples of merit in a Sentence

  1. Both ideas merit further consideration.

  2. These issues merit special attention.

  3. His good work merits a raise.

  4. She did well enough to merit a second interview.

  5. The attention she received was not merited.

Recent Examples of merit from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of merit

see 1merit

merit Synonyms

Synonyms
deserve, earn, rate
Related Words
entitle, qualify


MERIT Defined for English Language Learners

merit

noun

Definition of merit for English Language Learners

  • : a good quality or feature that deserves to be praised

  • : the quality of being good, important, or useful : value or worth


merit

verb

Definition of merit for English Language Learners

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


MERIT Defined for Kids

1

merit

noun mer·it \ ˈmer-ət \

Definition of merit for Students

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

2

merit

verb

Definition of merit for Students

merited; meriting
:to be worthy of or have a right to
  • Both ideas merit further consideration.

Law Dictionary

merit

noun mer·it \ ˈmer-ət \

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 1a
2 :legal significance, standing, or worth
  • an argument without merit


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up merit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to buzz or drone

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!