verb (used with object), de·mised, de·mis·ing.

Law. to transfer (an estate or the like) for a limited time; lease.
Government. to transfer (sovereignty), as by the death or abdication of the sovereign.

verb (used without object), de·mised, de·mis·ing.

Law. to pass by bequest, inheritance, or succession.

Origin of demise

1400–50; late Middle English dimis(s)e, demise < Old French demis (past participle of desmetre) < Latin dīmissum (past participle of dīmittere); see demit1, dismiss
Related formsde·mis·a·bil·i·ty, nounde·mis·a·ble, adjectivenon·de·mise, nounun·de·mised, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for demise

Contemporary Examples of demise

Historical Examples of demise

  • Death, which in any case awaits our friends, we woo to them by anticipations of demise.

  • Even Toby put in his claim to a partnership in bringing about its demise.

  • He remembered his mother, but not her demise; that had been concealed from him.

  • Captain Hall was fifty-nine years of age at the time of his demise.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • We had not heard before of the demise of our dear Brother and Sister Knowles.

    Gathering Jewels

    James Knowles and Matilda Darroch Knowles

British Dictionary definitions for demise



failure or terminationthe demise of one's hopes
a euphemistic or formal word for death
property law
  1. a transfer of an estate by lease
  2. the passing or transfer of an estate on the death of the owner
the immediate transfer of sovereignty to a successor upon the death, abdication, etc, of a ruler (esp in the phrase demise of the crown)


to transfer or be transferred by inheritance, will, or succession
(tr) property law to transfer (an estate, etc) for a limited period; lease
(tr) to transfer (sovereignty, a title, etc) by or as if by the death, deposition, etc, of a ruler
Derived Formsdemisable, adjective

Word Origin for demise

C16: from Old French, feminine of demis dismissed, from demettre to send away, from Latin dīmittere; see dismiss
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 demise

mid-15c., from Middle French demise, fem. past participle of démettre "dismiss, put away," from des- "away" (from Latin dis-) + Middle French mettre "put," from Latin mittere "let go, send" (see mission). Originally "transfer of estate by will," meaning extended 1754 to "death" because that's when this happens.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper