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


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


demure (comparative demurer, superlative demurest)

  1. (usually of women) Quiet, modest, reserved, sober, or serious.
    She is a demure young lady.
    • 1881, William Black, The Beautiful Wretch
      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 …'”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      [H]owever hard she pushed the tough-talkin' shtick, she remained doe-eyed, glowing and somehow unassailably demure.
    • 2021 June 30, Motoko Rich; Hikari Hida, “Expected to Be Demure, Japan’s Girls Face Steep Hurdles to Athletic Dreams”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      And in their daily lives, girls and women are pushed to conform to fairly narrow templates of behavior as demure or delicate.
  2. Affectedly modest, decorous, or serious; making a show of gravity.
    • c. 1824, Mary Russell Mitford, Walks in the Country
      Miss Lizzy, I have no doubt, would be as demure and coquettish, as if ten winters more had gone over her head.

Derived termsEdit



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

  1. (obsolete) To look demurely.