- claim to respect and praise; excellence; worth.
- something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation; a commendable quality, act, etc.: The book's only merit is its sincerity.
- merits, the inherent rights and wrongs of a matter, as a lawsuit, unobscured by procedural details, technicalities, personal feelings, etc.: The case will be decided on its merits alone.
- Often merits. the state or fact of deserving; desert: to treat people according to their merits.
- Roman Catholic Church. worthiness of spiritual reward, acquired by righteous acts made under the influence of grace.
- Obsolete. something that is deserved, whether good or bad.
- to be worthy of; deserve.
- Chiefly Theology. to acquire merit.
- based on merit: a merit raise of $25 a week.
Origin of merit
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for merit
This is likely a lowball number but it has the merit to illustrate the tradeoff that raising the minimum wage requires.How a GOP Senate Can Help the Poor
Veronique de Rugy
November 23, 2014
In Europe, he explained, the circus is considered a high form of art, known for its merit of talents and skilled performers.How the Circus Got a Social Conscience
November 7, 2014
This point has merit, but quickly begins to strain after the application of any sort of pressure.There She Is! Deport the Miss America Pageant.
October 6, 2014
But merit aside, you can indict a ham sandwich if it's Republican in the most liberal hotbed of Texas: Travis County.Peak 'Oops': Explaining the Perry Indictment
August 17, 2014
There is no merit badge yet for Dragon Boat racing, although there is one for canoeing.Bros Love Dragon Boats
August 10, 2014
Does he believe, that the disgrace which I supper on his account, will give him a merit with me?
But give up an inclination, and there is some merit in that.
But the recognition of his merit came sooner than could have been expected.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
I vindicated the good Mrs. Norton with a warmth that was due to her merit.
What merit was there in being what it would be contemptible not to be?Weighed and Wanting
- worth or superior quality; excellencework of great merit
- (often plural) a deserving or commendable quality or actjudge him on his merits
- Christianity spiritual credit granted or received for good works
- the fact or state of deserving; desert
- an obsolete word for reward
- (tr) to be worthy of; deservehe merits promotion
Word Origin and History for merit
c.1200, "spiritual credit" (for good works, etc.); c.1300, "spiritual reward," from Old French merite "wages, pay, reward; thanks; merit, moral worth, that which assures divine pity," and directly from Latin meritum "a merit, service, kindness, benefit, favor; worth, value, importance," neuter of meritus, past participle of merere, meriri "to earn, deserve, acquire, gain," from PIE root *(s)mer- "to allot, assign" (cf. Greek meros "part, lot," moira "share, fate," moros "fate, destiny, doom," Hittite mark "to divide" a sacrifice).
Sense of "worthiness, excellence" is from early 14c.; from late 14c. as "condition or conduct that deserves either reward or punishment;" also "a reward, benefit." Related: Merits. Merit system attested from 1880. Merit-monger was in common use 16c.-17c. in a sense roughly of "do-gooder."
Idioms and Phrases with merit
see on its merits.