Origin of merit

1175–1225; Middle English < Latin meritum act worthy of praise (or blame), noun use of neuter of meritus, past participle of merēre to earn
Related formsmer·it·ed·ly, adverbmer·it·less, adjectivehalf-mer·it·ed, adjectiveo·ver·mer·it, verbpre·mer·it, verb (used with object)self-mer·it, nounun·mer·it·ed, adjectiveun·mer·it·ed·ly, adverbwell-mer·it·ed, adjective

Synonyms for merit

Synonym study

1. See desert3.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for merit

Contemporary Examples of merit

Historical Examples of merit

  • But give up an inclination, and there is some merit in that.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Does he believe, that the disgrace which I supper on his account, will give him a merit with me?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • But the recognition of his merit came sooner than could have been expected.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • I vindicated the good Mrs. Norton with a warmth that was due to her merit.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What merit was there in being what it would be contemptible not to be?

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for merit

merit

noun

worth or superior quality; excellencework of great merit
(often plural) a deserving or commendable quality or actjudge him on his merits
Christianity spiritual credit granted or received for good works
the fact or state of deserving; desert
an obsolete word for reward

verb -its, -iting or -ited

(tr) to be worthy of; deservehe merits promotion
See also merits
Derived Formsmerited, adjectivemeritless, adjective

Word Origin for merit

C13: via Old French from Latin meritum reward, desert, from merēre to deserve
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 merit
n.

c.1200, "spiritual credit" (for good works, etc.); c.1300, "spiritual reward," from Old French merite "wages, pay, reward; thanks; merit, moral worth, that which assures divine pity," and directly from Latin meritum "a merit, service, kindness, benefit, favor; worth, value, importance," neuter of meritus, past participle of merere, meriri "to earn, deserve, acquire, gain," from PIE root *(s)mer- "to allot, assign" (cf. Greek meros "part, lot," moira "share, fate," moros "fate, destiny, doom," Hittite mark "to divide" a sacrifice).

Sense of "worthiness, excellence" is from early 14c.; from late 14c. as "condition or conduct that deserves either reward or punishment;" also "a reward, benefit." Related: Merits. Merit system attested from 1880. Merit-monger was in common use 16c.-17c. in a sense roughly of "do-gooder."

v.

late 15c., "to be entitled to," from Middle French meriter (Modern French mériter), from merite (n.), or directly from Latin meritare "to earn, yield," frequentative of mereri "to earn (money);" also "to serve as a soldier" (see merit (n.)). Related: Merited; meriting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with merit

merit

see on its merits.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.