demeanour

\ \ [15] A person’s demeanour is how they ‘conduct’ themselves. The word goes back ultimately to the literal notion of driving animals along. It is a derivative of the now virtually obsolete reflexive verb demeanbehave’, borrowed in the 13th century from Old French demener. This was a compound formed from the intensive prefix de- and menerlead’, a descendant of Latin mināredrive a herd of animals’ (whose original connotation of ‘urging on with threats’ is revealed by its close relationship with minārīthreaten’, source of English menace).
\ \ This obsolete demean should not, incidentally, be confused with demeandegrade’ [17], which was formed from the adjective mean.
\ \ Cf.MENACE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • demeanour — British English spelling of DEMEANOR (Cf. demeanor) (q.v.); for suffix, see OR (Cf. or) …   Etymology dictionary

  • demeanour — (US demeanor) ► NOUN ▪ outward behaviour or bearing. ORIGIN from DEMEAN(Cf. ↑demeaning) …   English terms dictionary

  • demeanour — [[t]dɪmi͟ːnə(r)[/t]] N UNCOUNT: usu poss N Your demeanour is the way you behave, which gives people an impression of your character and feelings. [FORMAL] From his general demeanour I didn t get the impression that he was being ironical. ...her… …   English dictionary

  • demeanour — Demeanor De*mean or, n. [Written also {demeanour}.] [For demeanure, fr. demean. See {Demean}, v. t.] 1. Management; treatment; conduct. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] God commits the managing so great a trust . . . wholly to the demeanor of every grown… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • demeanour — de|mea|nour BrE demeanor AmE [dıˈmi:nə US ər] n [singular, U] formal [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: demean to behave (14 21 centuries), from Old French demener to guide ] the way someone behaves, dresses, speaks etc that shows what their character is… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • demeanour — [15] A person’s demeanour is how they ‘conduct’ themselves. The word goes back ultimately to the literal notion of driving animals along. It is a derivative of the now virtually obsolete reflexive verb demean ‘behave’, borrowed in the 13th… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • demeanour — BrE, demeanor AmE noun (singular, uncountable) the way someone behaves or looks that gives you a general idea of their character: There was certainly a large element of irony in his demeanour …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • demeanour — UK [dɪˈmiːnə(r)] / US [dɪˈmɪnər] noun [uncountable] formal the way you look and behave His demeanour in court is usually quiet and timid …   English dictionary

  • demeanour — British variant of demeanor …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • demeanour — de|mean|our [ dı minər ] the British spelling of demeanor …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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