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[dih-mand, -mahnd] /dɪˈmænd, -ˈmɑnd/
verb (used with object)
to ask for with proper authority; claim as a right:
He demanded payment of the debt.
to ask for peremptorily or urgently:
He demanded sanctuary. She demanded that we let her in.
to call for or require as just, proper, or necessary:
This task demands patience. Justice demands objectivity.
  1. to lay formal legal claim to.
  2. to summon, as to court.
verb (used without object)
to make a demand; inquire; ask.
the act of demanding.
something that is demanded.
an urgent or pressing requirement:
demands upon one's time.
  1. the desire to purchase, coupled with the power to do so.
  2. the quantity of goods that buyers will take at a particular price.
a requisition; a legal claim:
The demands of the client could not be met.
the state of being wanted or sought for purchase or use:
an article in great demand.
Archaic. inquiry; question.
on demand, upon presentation or request for payment:
The fee is payable on demand.
1250-1300; Middle English demaunden < Anglo-French demaunder < Medieval Latin dēmandāre to demand, L to entrust, equivalent to dē- de- + mandāre to commission, order; see mandate
Related forms
demandable, adjective
demander, noun
counterdemand, noun
overdemand, verb, noun
predemand, verb (used with object)
superdemand, noun
undemanded, adjective
3. exact. Demand, claim, require imply making an authoritative request. To demand is to ask in a bold, authoritative way: to demand an explanation. To claim is to assert a right to something: He claimed it as his due. To require is to ask for something as being necessary; to compel: The Army requires absolute obedience of its soldiers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for demands
  • They let you enjoy their company without making outrageous demands.
  • The plant demands excellent drainage, displaying its best form in full sun or light shade.
  • Preserving summer-ripe fruits sometimes demands more time than anyone can spare.
  • The turquoise pot demands something white in it, accompanied by some lovely, supporting green.
  • When he has finished his work, he demands to be petted.
  • When the subject turns to tamales, he demands precision.
  • The modesty in his method is matched by a realism in his demands.
  • Not yet up to the demands of plowing, they were used at first primarily for threshing.
  • Inevitably, a thriving economy brought demands for an expanded infrastructure.
  • So set your priorities, do what your season demands and requires, and then the next season comes in and you do what's next.
British Dictionary definitions for demands


verb (transitive; may take a clause as object or an infinitive)
to request peremptorily or urgently
to require or need as just, urgent, etc: the situation demands attention
to claim as a right; exact: his parents demanded obedience of him
(law) to make a formal legal claim to (property, esp realty)
an urgent or peremptory requirement or request
something that requires special effort or sacrifice: a demand on one's time
the act of demanding something or the thing demanded: the kidnappers' demand was a million pounds
an insistent question or query
  1. willingness and ability to purchase goods and services
  2. the amount of a commodity that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a specified price Compare supply1 (sense 9)
(law) a formal legal claim, esp to real property
in demand, sought after; popular
on demand, as soon as requested: a draft payable on demand
Derived Forms
demandable, adjective
demander, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-French demaunder, from Medieval Latin dēmandāre, from Latin: to commit to, from de- + mandāre to command, entrust; see mandate
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
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Word Origin and History for demands



late 14c., "ask, make inquiry," from Old French demander (12c.) "to request; to demand," from Latin demandare "entrust, charge with a commission" (in Vulgar Latin, "to ask, request, demand"), from de- "completely" (see de-) + mandare "to order" (see mandate). Meaning "to ask for as a right" is early 15c., from Anglo-French legal use. Related: Demanded; demanding.


late 13c., "a question," from Old French demande (see demand (v.)). Meaning "a request, claim" is from c.1300. In the political economy sense (correlating to supply) it is attested from 1776 in Adam Smith.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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demands in Culture

demand definition

The amount of any given commodity that people are ready and able to buy at a given time for a given price. (See supply and demand.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with demands
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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