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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 demureness
Historical Examples
  • At this point Judy's demureness gave way and she laughed till the tears came.

    The Art of Disappearing John Talbot Smith
  • (With the faintest suggestion of demureness) All pretty things do.

    First Plays A. A. Milne
  • Of a sudden she would assume a demureness, utterly bewitching in its veiled and perfect mimicry.

    Overland Red Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • "I'm visiting Jane," she replied at length, with an affectation of demureness.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
  • He was captivated by her freshness and beauty, her demureness, her ignorance of all things vicious.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • This with a sudden explosiveness at the last, after the demureness.

  • There was in the frock a demureness almost Quaker-like which as a foil for her beauty breathed the very essence of coquetry.

    Flood Tide Sara Ware Bassett
  • Judith, the picture of demureness, would give him a glance that would almost create an explosion.

    Throckmorton Molly Elliot Seawell
  • She walked up the long interior with the demureness of a stockbroker's young wife out for the evening from Putney Hill.

    The Pretty Lady Arnold E. Bennett
  • Polly, usually the essence of demureness, turned and looked at us with hard, angry eyes.

    An American Girl in Munich Mabel W. Daniels
British Dictionary definitions for demureness

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 demureness

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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