- 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 unmerited
What Dr. King said to us was that unmerited suffering was always redemptive.50 Years Later: The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
Lottie L. Joiner
September 15, 2013
But conversations with several Senate staffers and Capitol Hill insiders say the shock is unmerited.Jim DeMint Gains More Power Over GOP in Move from Senate to Heritage Foundation
December 7, 2012
If he was to be saved at all, he could be saved only by the unmerited grace of God.Bunyan
James Anthony Froude
"But—you see I had done him an unmerited injury," said Jimmy, soberly.Mixed Faces
From hunted sense of unmerited outlawry I have passed to that of 'ermine' function.
How escape deserved reckoning in the one and unmerited accounting in the other?
He admired their constancy and pitied their unmerited sufferings.The Martyr of the Catacombs
- not merited or deserved
- 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 unmerited
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 unmerited
see on its merits.