[ dih-mahyz ]
/ dɪˈmaɪz /
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See synonyms for: demise / demised / demising on Thesaurus.com


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.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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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


de·mis·a·bil·i·ty, nounde·mis·a·ble, adjectivenon·de·mise, nounun·de·mised, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for demise

British Dictionary definitions for demise

/ (dɪˈmaɪz) /


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)


Derived forms of demise

demisable, 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