- 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 merited
And there were enough of them in Soviet times that they merited their own shout-out?The Olympics Are Already Two Days Old. This Is Your Test.
February 9, 2014
Whatever fulsome cliché of brilliance you want to attach to Hoffman is merited.Philip Seymour Hoffman: An Actor First
February 2, 2014
No word on if this outrageous sum, which Stewart raised for Hurricane Sandy relief, merited a smile from the famously surly star.Eastwood’s Wife Files for Separation; Stewart Charges $500K for Appearance
September 11, 2013
We could teach our children that we merited freedom because we let others go free.Slaves or Slave Masters in Egypt?
April 3, 2012
Tiny, pretty, and daring, Coleman merited frequent comparison to her white contemporary “aviatrix,” Amelia Earhart.Red Tails Overlooks the Story of America’s First Black Pilots
January 16, 2012
It arose from a consciousness of guilt, and a dread of merited punishment.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
Truth to tell he realized that he merited a rebuke for his lack of observation.The Boy Scouts on Belgian Battlefields
Lieut. Howard Payson
Of the few passers-by there was not one who merited a second glance or thought!A Nest of Spies
The lad sought to obey him with an alacrity that merited a kinder fate.The Suitors of Yvonne
Abd-er-Rahman (the Sultan, as he was called) merited this praise.A Short History of Spain
Mary Platt Parmele
- 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 merited
"well-earned," c.1600, past participle adjective from merit (v.).
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 merited
see on its merits.