mer·​i·​to·​ri·​ous | \ ˌmer-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əs How to pronounce meritorious (audio) \

Definition of meritorious

: deserving of honor or esteem honored for her meritorious service to the company

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Other Words from meritorious

meritoriously adverb
meritoriousness noun

Did You Know?

People who demonstrate meritorious behavior certainly "earn" our respect, and you can use that fact to remember that "meritorious" ultimately traces to the Latin verb merēre, which means "to earn." Nowadays, the rewards earned for meritorious acts are likely to be of an immaterial nature: gratitude, admiration, praise, etc. But that wasn't always so. The history of "meritorious" recalls a reward more concrete in nature: money. The Latin word meritorius, an ancestor of the English "meritorious," literally means "bringing in money."

Examples of meritorious in a Sentence

She was given an award for meritorious service. worked all night with meritorious determination to get the project done on time
Recent Examples on the Web The existence of relegation means the possibility of giant-killing promotion, of democratic, meritorious revolution. Chris Jones,, "Column: British soccer fans going ballistic over the Super League rebels isn’t just about an attempt to upend tradition — it is about undermining culture at large," 20 Apr. 2021 Tait was elected to the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1992, received its C.S. Williams Founders Award for long and meritorious service in broadcasting in 1996 and its Legacy Award in 2004. cleveland, "Joe Tait, the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers for two generations, dies at age 83," 10 Mar. 2021 The creation of a national health service and a massive vaccination campaign against plague and measles were the first, meritorious, actions undertaken to improve the situation. Longreads, "Why Bumblebees Love Cats and Other Beautiful Relationships," 23 Mar. 2021 Arnold won the very first MacKay Trophy, which recognizes the most meritorious military flight of the year. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, the Architect of American Air Power, Overcame His Fear of Flying," 10 Mar. 2021 Defendants and insurers will no longer benefit from delaying resolution of meritorious injury cases that will eventually go to trial. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "A look at what passed and what didn’t in Illinois’ frantic final hours of session," 14 Jan. 2021 But Liebhaber — a recent recipient of the Bronze Star for meritorious service during his deployment and a veteran Chicago police officer — has some other fail-safe activities to save the season. William Lee,, "National Guardsman who works as Chicago police officer thankful to be headed home from Afghanistan for Christmas, even amid pandemic," 24 Dec. 2020 While in the service, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation medal, the Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Meritorious Service Medal. Jacques Kelly,, "James E. Henson Sr., retired Howard County Human Rights Office chief, dies," 22 Dec. 2020 The organization has to strike a balance between rewarding the player for his years of meritorious service and doing what’s best for the team. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: As heartless as it might be, Dodgers must move on from Kenley Jansen," 17 Dec. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of meritorious was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meritorious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for meritorious



English Language Learners Definition of meritorious

formal : deserving honor or praise


mer·​i·​to·​ri·​ous | \ ˌmer-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əs How to pronounce meritorious (audio) \

Kids Definition of meritorious

: deserving reward or honor : praiseworthy meritorious conduct


mer·​i·​to·​ri·​ous | \ ˌmer-ə-ˈtōr-ē-əs How to pronounce meritorious (audio) \

Legal Definition of meritorious

1 : deserving of honor or esteem
2 : having merit a meritorious claim

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