adjective, de·mur·er, de·mur·est.

characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
affectedly or coyly decorous, sober, or sedate.

Origin of demure

1350–1400; Middle English dem(e)ur(e) well-mannered, grave < Anglo-French demuré, past participle of demurer to demur; perhaps influenced by Old French mur, mëur grave, mature (< Latin matūrus)
Related formsde·mure·ly, adverbde·mure·ness, nounun·de·mure, adjectiveun·de·mure·ly, adverbun·de·mure·ness, noun
Can be confuseddemur demure

Synonyms for demure

1. retiring. See modest.

Antonyms for demure

1, 2. indecorous. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for demure

Contemporary Examples of demure

Historical Examples of demure

  • Mussoorie of all Himalayan hill-stations is the most demure and proper.

  • I don't know how we are to make a demure young lady of her.'

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • She was tall and slender as a lath, very compliant and demure.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • She spoke with a demure dignity of which the picturesque value was well known to her.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • "With her guardian's consent, of course," said she, with a demure coquetry of look and manner.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for demure



sedate; decorous; reserved
affectedly modest or prim; coy
Derived Formsdemurely, adverbdemureness, noun

Word Origin for demure

C14: perhaps from Old French demorer to delay, linger; perhaps influenced by meur ripe, mature
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 demure

late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from Old French meur "mature, fully grown, ripe," hence "discreet," from Latin maturus "mature" (see mature (v.)) [OED]. The de- in this word is of uncertain meaning. Or possibly from Anglo-French demuré (Old French demoré), past participle of demorer "stay," and influenced by meur [Barnhart]. Or from Old French de (bon) murs "of good manners," from murs (Modern French moeurs) [Klein].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper