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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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for demurely
  • The country beauty looked ravishing in a red dress that tied demurely at the neck.
  • Finally, with hands folded in the traditional gesture of greeting, she demurely lowered her eyes to the ground.
  • The entrées are few, listed demurely at the bottom of the menu.
  • Punctuation is the way one bats one's eyes, lowers one's voice or blushes demurely.
  • While the groom was permitted to laugh and chat, the bride was required to sit perfectly still, her eyes demurely lowered.
British Dictionary definitions for demurely

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 demurely

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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