1. a combining form appearing in loanwords from French meaning “half” (demilune), “lesser” (demitasse), or sometimes used with a pejorative sense (demimonde); on this model, also prefixed to words of English origin (demigod).

Origin of demi-

<French, combining form representing demi (adj.; also noun and adv.) <Vulgar Latin *dīmedius, for Latin dīmidius half, equivalent to dī-di-2 + medius middle

Words Nearby demi- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use demi- in a sentence

  • They surround themselves with the atmosphere of the demi-monde and forget that a wrinkle is as fatal as a chaperon.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • The author of Peace and War seemed to him, in his own words, not so much an ordinary mortal as a demi-god.

  • It breathed kind affection, with one or two demi-maternal cautions about his health, and to be very prudent for her sake.

  • The four cardinal points are so many demi-gods, of whom the West, called Kabeun, has priority of age.

    The Indian in his Wigwam | Henry R. Schoolcraft
  • It hadn't been anywhere near as simple as the Investiture he had gone through to become a demi-God.

    Pagan Passions | Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for demi-


  1. half: demirelief Compare hemi-, semi- (def. 1)

  2. of less than full size, status, or rank: demigod

Origin of demi-

via French from Medieval Latin dīmedius, from Latin dīmīdius half, from dis- apart + medius middle

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