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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for demureness
Historical Examples
  • He was captivated by her freshness and beauty, her demureness, her ignorance of all things vicious.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • (With the faintest suggestion of demureness) All pretty things do.

    First Plays A. A. Milne
  • "I'm visiting Jane," she replied at length, with an affectation of demureness.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
  • Some of the lads had evidently had saké and even the girls had lost their demureness.

    The Foundations of Japan J.W. Robertson Scott
  • This with a sudden explosiveness at the last, after the demureness.

  • Judith, the picture of demureness, would give him a glance that would almost create an explosion.

    Throckmorton Molly Elliot Seawell
  • She walked up the long interior with the demureness of a stockbroker's young wife out for the evening from Putney Hill.

    The Pretty Lady

    Arnold E. Bennett
  • Dotty thought of Harriet all the afternoon, and walked about the house with a demureness quite unusual.

  • There was in the frock a demureness almost Quaker-like which as a foil for her beauty breathed the very essence of coquetry.

    Flood Tide

    Sara Ware Bassett
  • There is a demureness, a restraint which reminds one that the atmosphere of far-away Castile is still upon them.

    The Amazing Argentine John Foster Fraser
British Dictionary definitions for demureness


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 demureness



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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