demure

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English demure, demwre, of uncertain formation, but probably from Old French meur (Modern French mûr) from Latin maturus. The "de-" is "of", as in "of maturity".

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈmjʊə(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /dɪˈmjʊɹ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
Distinguish from pronunciation of demur

Adjective[edit]

demure (comparative demurer, superlative demurest)

  1. (usually of women) Quiet, modest, reserved, sober, or serious.
    She is a demure young lady.
    • (Can we date this quote by W. Black and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Nan was very much delighted in her demure way, and that delight showed itself in her face and in her clear bright eyes.
    • 2014 January 21, Hermione Hoby, “Julia Roberts interview for August: Osage County – 'I might actually go to hell for this ...': Julia Roberts reveals why her violent, Oscar-nominated performance in August: Osage County made her feel 'like a terrible person' [print version: 'I might actually go to hell for this ...' (18 January 2014, p. R4)]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1]:
      [H]owever hard she pushed the tough-talkin' shtick, she remained doe-eyed, glowing and somehow unassailably demure.
  2. Affectedly modest, decorous, or serious; making a show of gravity.
    • (Can we date this quote by L'Estrange and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      A cat lay, and looked so demure, as if there had been neither life nor soul in her.
    • (Can we date this quote by Miss Mitford and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Miss Lizzy, I have no doubt, would be as demure and coquettish, as if ten winters more had gone over her head.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

demure (third-person singular simple present demures, present participle demuring, simple past and past participle demured)

  1. (obsolete) To look demurely.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (act 4, scene 16, line 30)
      Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes [] shall acquire no Honour Demuring upon me.