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demure

[dih-myoo r] /dɪˈmyʊər/
adjective, demurer, demurest.
1.
characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
2.
affectedly or coyly decorous, sober, or sedate.
Origin of demure
1350-1400
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.
Synonyms
1. retiring. See modest.
Antonyms
1, 2. indecorous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for demure
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A money-box is like a Quaker beauty: demure without, but what a figure of a woman!

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

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • On the preceding evening she had been very silent and demure, and her betrothed had also been silent.

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

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • If she be pretty and demure a mixture of emotions is aroused in the jury.

    Courts and Criminals Arthur Train
British Dictionary definitions for demure

demure

/dɪˈmjʊə/
adjective
1.
sedate; decorous; reserved
2.
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
adj.

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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