From Middle English merite, from Old French merite, from Latin meritum (“that which one deserves; service, kindness, benefit, fault, blame, demerit, grounds, reason, worth, value, importance”), neuter of meritus, past participle of mereō (“I deserve, earn, gain, get, acquire”), akin to Ancient Greek μέρος (méros, “a part, lot, fate, destiny”).
merit (plural merits)
- Something deserving positive recognition.
- His reward for his merit was a check for $50.
- Something worthy of a high rating.
- Richard Fuller
- In all our noble Anglo-Saxon language, there is scarcely a nobler word than worth; yet this term has now almost exclusively a pecuniary meaning. So that if you ask what a man is worth, nobody ever thinks of telling you what he is, but what he has. The answer will never refer to his merits, his virtues, but always to his possessions. He is worth — so much money.
- Richard Fuller
- A claim to commendation or reward.
- The quality of deserving reward.
- Reputation is […] oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
- Alexander Pope
- To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known, / And every author's merit, but his own.
- Reward deserved; any mark or token of excellence or approbation.
- His teacher gave him ten merits.
- those laurel groves, the merits of thy youth
- (obsolete) The quality or state of deserving either good or bad.
- All they merited were their just deserts.
- Be it known, that we, the greatest, are misthought / For things that others do; and when we fall, / We answer others' merits in our name.
- (transitive) To earn or to deserve.
Her performance merited its wild applause.
- (intransitive) To be worthy or deserving.
- They were punished as they merited.
- (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- (obsolete, rare) To reward.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Chapman to this entry?)
- merit in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- merit in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- merit at OneLook Dictionary Search
merit m (plural meric)