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From Middle English demure, demwre, of uncertain formation, but probably from Old French meur (Modern French mûr) from Latin maturus. 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.
    • W. Black
      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 ...': Julia Roberts reveals why her violent, Oscar-nominated performance in August: Osage County made her feel 'like a terrible person' [print version: 'I might actually go to hell for this ...' (18 January 2014, p. R4)]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1]:
      [H]owever hard she pushed the tough-talkin' shtick, she remained doe-eyed, glowing and somehow unassailably demure.
  2. Affectedly modest, decorous, or serious; making a show of gravity.
    • L'Estrange
      A cat lay, and looked so demure, as if there had been neither life nor soul in her.
    • Miss Mitford
      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.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (act 4, scene 16, line 30)
      Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes [] shall acquire no Honour Demuring upon me.