9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-myoo r] /dɪˈmyʊər/
adjective, demurer, demurest.
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 forms
demurely, adverb
demureness, noun
undemure, adjective
undemurely, adverb
undemureness, noun
Can be confused
demur, demure.
1. retiring. See modest.
1, 2. indecorous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for demure
  • Mentor knows that high-pitched voices are considered sweet and demure.
  • In the outdoor lounge, surrounded by cabanas, the mood was more demure.
  • The demure bride of yore, the one in the fairy princess gown, has left the altar.
  • Women and men can be, are are, equally as pompous and professorial as they can equally be demure and quiet.
  • She speaks in a demure voice that trills with a disarming little lisp.
  • In the finest department stores, even the demure “elevator girls” are treated with impeccable politeness.
  • The town librarian's demure exterior hides a spine of steel.
  • She was demure, sweet and vague out in public.
  • The three are known among friends for being anything but demure or retiring.
  • Today she's positively demure in black capris, blue blouse and wispy gray sweater.
British Dictionary definitions for demure


sedate; decorous; reserved
affectedly modest or prim; coy
Derived Forms
demurely, adverb
demureness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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