- a mark against a person for misconduct or deficiency: If you receive four demerits during a term, you will be expelled from school.
- the quality of being censurable or punishable; fault; culpability.
- Obsolete. merit or desert.
Origin of demerit
Examples from the Web for demerit
"Take a demerit for that, and stay after school," I told him.Roy Blakeley's Camp on Wheels
Percy Keese Fitzhugh
Well, that report as good as finds him on demerit, doesn't it?Starlight Ranch
It is not a question of merit or demerit on the part of the unfortunates or their families.The Deaf
A succade to follow your eggs, which you shall have if you demerit it.All's Well
Emily Sarah Holt
The common copper and zinc cell is the next in order of demerit.Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare
C. W. Sleeman
- something, esp conduct, that deserves censure
- US and Canadian a mark given against a person for failure or misconduct, esp in schools or the armed forces
- a fault or disadvantage
Word Origin and History for demerit
late 14c., from Old French desmerite "blame, demerit" (Modern French démérite), from des- "not, opposite" (see dis-) + merite "merit" (see merit (n.)). Latin demereri meant "to merit, deserve," from de- in its completive sense. But Medieval Latin demeritum meant "fault." Both senses existed in the Middle French form of the word. Meaning "penalty point in school" is attested from 1862.