demure

\ \ [14] Etymologically, someone who is demure is quiet and settled, not agitated. The word comes from demore, the past participle of Old French demorerstay’ (source of English demur), and so semantically is a parallel formation to staid. One of its earliest recorded uses in English was actually to describe the sea as ‘calm’, and it was not until the late 17th century that its modern slightly pejorative connotations of coyness began to emerge.
\ \ Cf.DEMUR

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Demure — De*mure , a. [Perh. from OF. de murs (i. e., de bonnes murs of good manners); de of + murs, mours, meurs, mors, F. m?urs, fr. L. mores (sing. mos) manners, morals (see {Moral}); or more prob. fr. OF. me[ u]r, F. m[^u]r mature, ripe (see {Mature}) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • demure — (adj.) late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), from O.Fr. meur mature, fully grown, ripe, hence discreet, from L. maturus mature (see MATURE (Cf. mature) (v.)) [OED]. The de in this word is of uncertain meaning. Or possibly from Anglo Fr. demuré… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Demure — De*mure , v. i. To look demurely. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • demure — index diffident Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • démuré — démuré, ée (dé mu ré, rée) part. passé. Une porte murée, puis démurée …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • demure — [adj] reserved, affected backward, bashful, blushing, close, coy, decorous, diffident, earnest, humble, modest, nice, prim, prissy, proper, prudish, reticent, retiring, sedate, serious, shy, silent, skittish, sober, solemn, staid, strait laced,… …   New thesaurus

  • demure — ► ADJECTIVE (demurer, demurest) ▪ (of a woman) reserved, modest, and shy. DERIVATIVES demurely adverb demureness noun. ORIGIN perhaps from Old French demourer remain, stay , influenced by mur grave …   English terms dictionary

  • demure — [di myoor′] adj. [ME demur < de (prob. intens.) + mur < OFr mëur, ripe, mature < L maturus, MATURE] 1. decorous; modest; reserved 2. affectedly modest or shy; coy SYN. SHY1 demurely adv. demureness n …   English World dictionary

  • demure — [[t]dɪmjʊ͟ə(r)[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED (approval) If you describe someone, usually a young woman, as demure, you mean they are quiet and rather shy, usually in a way that you like and find appealing, and behave very correctly. She s very demure and… …   English dictionary

  • demure — UK [dɪˈmjʊə(r)] / US [dɪˈmjʊr] adjective Word forms demure : adjective demure comparative demurer superlative demurest a) a demure woman is quiet and shy and always behaves well b) used about a woman s behaviour or the clothes that she wears a… …   English dictionary

  • demure — de|mure [dıˈmjuə US ˈmjur] adj [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: demoré, past participle of demorer; DEMUR] 1.) quiet, serious, and well behaved used especially about women in the past ▪ Old photos of Maggie show her young and demure. 2.)… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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