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From Anglo-Norman demorer, from Old French demorer (French demeurer), from Vulgar Latin demoro, Latin demorari (to tarry), from de- + morari (to delay).[1]

See alternative etymology in the Anglo-Norman ancestor.


Distinguish from pronunciation of demure


demur (third-person singular simple present demurs, present participle demurring, simple past and past participle demurred)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To linger; to stay; to tarry
    • (Can we date this quote by Nicols?)
      Yet durst not demur nor abide upon the camp.
  2. (intransitive) To delay; to pause; to suspend proceedings or judgment in view of a doubt or difficulty; to hesitate; to put off the determination or conclusion of an affair.
    • 1630, John Hayward, The Life and Raigne of King Edward the Sixth
      Vpon this rubbe the English Embassadors thought fit to demurre
  3. (intransitive) To scruple or object; to take exception; to oppose; to balk
    I demur to that statement.
    The personnel demurred at the management's new scheme.
  4. (intransitive, law) To interpose a demurrer.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To suspend judgment concerning; to doubt of or hesitate about
    • (Can we date this quote by John Milton?)
      The latter I demur, for in their looks / Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To cause delay to; to put off
    • (Can we date this quote by Quarles?)
      He demands a fee, / And then demurs me with a vain delay.

Related termsEdit



demur (plural demurs)

  1. Stop; pause; hesitation as to proceeding; suspense of decision or action; scruple.
    • Alexander Pope
      All my demurs but double his attacks; At last he whispers, “Do; and we go snacks.”
    • 2004, Richard Fortey, The Earth, Folio Society 2011, p. 132:
      Most geologists today would accept such evidence without demur, but it was still ‘fringe’ science when du Toit was publishing.



  1. ^ demur” Webster's dictionary