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 demureness

Historical Examples of demureness

  • He was captivated by her freshness and beauty, her demureness, her ignorance of all things vicious.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • (With the faintest suggestion of demureness) All pretty things do.

    First Plays

    A. A. Milne

  • "I'm visiting Jane," she replied at length, with an affectation of demureness.

    The Riverman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Some of the lads had evidently had saké and even the girls had lost their demureness.

    The Foundations of Japan

    J.W. Robertson Scott

  • This with a sudden explosiveness at the last, after the demureness.

British Dictionary definitions for demureness



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 demureness



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