- 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 merits
So, the arrival of a foreign journalist in Belgika merits a town meeting.The Congo's Forgotten Colonial Getaway
December 18, 2014
The government has blocked every opportunity to challenge this case on its merits.Special Forces’ $77M ‘Hustler’ Hits Back
December 8, 2014
He criticized rather than praised the merits of powerful government, but he did so with unequivocal certainty.The Birth of the Novel
November 27, 2014
U.S. schools will receive funding and “customers” regardless of their merits (or lack thereof).How a GOP Senate Can Help the Poor
Veronique de Rugy
November 23, 2014
I could bring concepts to her and have them considered on their merits.The Valerie Jarrett I Know: How She Saved the Obama Campaign and Why She’s Indispensable
November 18, 2014
She had already forgotten the entire matter, and was deep in the merits of collars!Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Were they his rivals, he found the perfect word for their merits and shortcomings.The Man Shakespeare
Again the elder blew a reflective cloud over the merits of the question.Quaint Courtships
No other man, let his merits be what they may, could have these advantages in my opinion.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
He watched her anxiously, quick to approve her merits as she displayed them.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
- the actual and intrinsic rights and wrongs of an issue, esp in a law case, as distinct from extraneous matters and technicalities
- on its merits on the intrinsic qualities or virtues
- 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 merits
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 merits
see on its merits.