[dih-mand, -mahnd]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to ask for with proper authority; claim as a right: He demanded payment of the debt.
  2. to ask for peremptorily or urgently: He demanded sanctuary. She demanded that we let her in.
  3. to call for or require as just, proper, or necessary: This task demands patience. Justice demands objectivity.
  4. Law.
    1. to lay formal legal claim to.
    2. to summon, as to court.
verb (used without object)
  1. to make a demand; inquire; ask.
  1. the act of demanding.
  2. something that is demanded.
  3. an urgent or pressing requirement: demands upon one's time.
  4. Economics.
    1. the desire to purchase, coupled with the power to do so.
    2. the quantity of goods that buyers will take at a particular price.
  5. a requisition; a legal claim: The demands of the client could not be met.
  6. the state of being wanted or sought for purchase or use: an article in great demand.
  7. Archaic. inquiry; question.
  1. on demand, upon presentation or request for payment: The fee is payable on demand.

Origin of demand

1250–1300; Middle English demaunden < Anglo-French demaunder < Medieval Latin dēmandāre to demand, L to entrust, equivalent to dē- de- + mandāre to commission, order; see mandate
Related formsde·mand·a·ble, adjectivede·mand·er, nouncoun·ter·de·mand, nouno·ver·de·mand, verb, nounpre·de·mand, verb (used with object)su·per·de·mand, nounun·de·mand·ed, adjective

Synonyms for demand

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3. exact.

Synonym study

3. Demand, claim, require imply making an authoritative request. To demand is to ask in a bold, authoritative way: to demand an explanation. To claim is to assert a right to something: He claimed it as his due. To require is to ask for something as being necessary; to compel: The Army requires absolute obedience of its soldiers. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of demand

Historical Examples of demand

British Dictionary definitions for demand


verb (tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive)
  1. to request peremptorily or urgently
  2. to require or need as just, urgent, etcthe situation demands attention
  3. to claim as a right; exacthis parents demanded obedience of him
  4. law to make a formal legal claim to (property, esp realty)
  1. an urgent or peremptory requirement or request
  2. something that requires special effort or sacrificea demand on one's time
  3. the act of demanding something or the thing demandedthe kidnappers' demand was a million pounds
  4. an insistent question or query
  5. economics
    1. willingness and ability to purchase goods and services
    2. the amount of a commodity that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a specified priceCompare supply 1 (def. 9)
  6. law a formal legal claim, esp to real property
  7. in demand sought after; popular
  8. on demand as soon as requesteda draft payable on demand
Derived Formsdemandable, adjectivedemander, noun

Word Origin for demand

C13: from Anglo-French demaunder, from Medieval Latin dēmandāre, from Latin: to commit to, from de- + mandāre to command, entrust; see mandate
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

Word Origin and History for demand

late 14c., "ask, make inquiry," from Old French demander (12c.) "to request; to demand," from Latin demandare "entrust, charge with a commission" (in Vulgar Latin, "to ask, request, demand"), from de- "completely" (see de-) + mandare "to order" (see mandate). Meaning "to ask for as a right" is early 15c., from Anglo-French legal use. Related: Demanded; demanding.


late 13c., "a question," from Old French demande (see demand (v.)). Meaning "a request, claim" is from c.1300. In the political economy sense (correlating to supply) it is attested from 1776 in Adam Smith.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

demand in Culture


The amount of any given commodity that people are ready and able to buy at a given time for a given price. (See supply and demand.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with demand


see in demand; make demands on; on demand.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.