1. value, credit. Merit, desert, worth refer to the quality in a person, action, or thing that entitles recognition, especially favorable recognition. Merit is usually the excellence that entitles to praise: a person of great merit. Desert is the quality that entitles one to a just reward: according to her deserts. Worth is always used in a favorable sense and signifies inherent value or goodness: The worth of your contribution is incalculable.