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demure

[dih-myoo r]
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adjective, de·mur·er, de·mur·est.
  1. characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
  2. affectedly or coyly decorous, sober, or sedate.
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Origin of demure

1350–1400; Middle English dem(e)ur(e) well-mannered, grave < Anglo-French demuré, past participle of demurer to demur; perhaps influenced by Old French mur, mëur grave, mature (< Latin matūrus)
Related formsde·mure·ly, adverbde·mure·ness, nounun·de·mure, adjectiveun·de·mure·ly, adverbun·de·mure·ness, noun
Can be confuseddemur demure

Synonyms

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1. retiring. See modest.

Antonyms

1, 2. indecorous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demure

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mussoorie of all Himalayan hill-stations is the most demure and proper.

  • I don't know how we are to make a demure young lady of her.'

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • She was tall and slender as a lath, very compliant and demure.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • She spoke with a demure dignity of which the picturesque value was well known to her.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • "With her guardian's consent, of course," said she, with a demure coquetry of look and manner.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever


British Dictionary definitions for demure

demure

adjective
  1. sedate; decorous; reserved
  2. affectedly modest or prim; coy
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Derived Formsdemurely, adverbdemureness, noun

Word Origin

C14: perhaps from Old French demorer to delay, linger; perhaps influenced by meur ripe, mature
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

Word Origin and History for demure

adj.

late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from Old French meur "mature, fully grown, ripe," hence "discreet," from Latin maturus "mature" (see mature (v.)) [OED]. The de- in this word is of uncertain meaning. Or possibly from Anglo-French demuré (Old French demoré), past participle of demorer "stay," and influenced by meur [Barnhart]. Or from Old French de (bon) murs "of good manners," from murs (Modern French moeurs) [Klein].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper