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[dih-myoo r] /dɪˈmyʊər/
adjective, demurer, demurest.
characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
affectedly or coyly decorous, sober, or sedate.
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 forms
demurely, adverb
demureness, noun
undemure, adjective
undemurely, adverb
undemureness, noun
Can be confused
demur, demure.
1. retiring. See modest.
1, 2. indecorous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for demurely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Some of it might come out of a cookbook," said Betty demurely.

    A Little Girl in Old Boston Amanda Millie Douglas
  • He didn't mean to be patronizing, but he had Betty demurely leaning on his arm, and—dear me!

    Lorraine Robert W. Chambers
  • "Perhaps I am," murmured Joan, and demurely passed on up the stairs.

    Why Joan? Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • Why should I,” answered Mabel, demurely, “since I am going with you?

  • A moment before he had supposed her demurely breaking hearts at St. Cloud, and Paris under her feet.

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • "My mother doesn't like me to make too many acquaintances," said Jennie demurely.

    The Young Adventurer Horatio Alger
  • “Yes, it gets dark before one realizes,” said Nance demurely.

British Dictionary definitions for demurely


sedate; decorous; reserved
affectedly modest or prim; coy
Derived Forms
demurely, adverb
demureness, 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
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Word Origin and History for demurely



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].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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