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90s Slang You Should Know


[dih-mer-it] /dɪˈmɛr ɪt/
a mark against a person for misconduct or deficiency:
If you receive four demerits during a term, you will be expelled from school.
the quality of being censurable or punishable; fault; culpability.
Obsolete. merit or desert.
Origin of demerit
1350-1400; Middle English (< Old French desmerite) < Medieval Latin dēmeritum fault, noun use of neuter past participle of Latin dēmerēre to earn, win the favor of (dē- taken in ML as privative, hence pejorative). See de-, merit
Related forms
[dih-mer-i-tawr-ee-uh s, -tohr-] /dɪˌmɛr ɪˈtɔr i əs, -ˈtoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
demeritoriously, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for demerit
Historical Examples
  • These facts being known, I am content to take on myself the merit or demerit of furnishing these supplies.

  • A succade to follow your eggs, which you shall have if you demerit it.

    All's Well Emily Sarah Holt
  • There is no reason to suppose that the sin and demerit he speaks of is that of leaving his home.

    Shakespearean Tragedy A. C. Bradley
  • The common copper and zinc cell is the next in order of demerit.

  • "Miss Miller, they should each have a demerit for disturbing the peace like this," said Zan, in mock severity.

    The Woodcraft Girls at Camp Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • According to such principles, man can neither merit nor demerit.

    Good Sense Paul Henri Thiry, Baron D'Holbach
  • Do you think that none but professional artists are capable of judging of the actual merit or demerit of a painting?

  • If he answers "merit, demerit, and error," we readily grant what he says.

    The Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha Madhava Acharya
  • But, since man's body is capable neither of merit nor of demerit, it is capable neither of reward nor of punishment.

  • Such is the case when, either on merit or demerit, great patronage is bestowed.

    Nature and Art Mrs. Inchbald
British Dictionary definitions for demerit


/diːˈmɛrɪt; ˈdiːˌmɛrɪt/
something, esp conduct, that deserves censure
(US & Canadian) a mark given against a person for failure or misconduct, esp in schools or the armed forces
a fault or disadvantage
Derived Forms
demeritorious, adjective
demeritoriously, adverb
Word Origin
C14 (originally: worth, later specialized to mean: something worthy of blame): from Latin dēmerērī to deserve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for demerit

late 14c., from Old French desmerite "blame, demerit" (Modern French démérite), from des- "not, opposite" (see dis-) + merite "merit" (see merit (n.)). Latin demereri meant "to merit, deserve," from de- in its completive sense. But Medieval Latin demeritum meant "fault." Both senses existed in the Middle French form of the word. Meaning "penalty point in school" is attested from 1862.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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