Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A quality or characteristic deserving of blame or censure; a fault.
  • noun Absence of merit.
  • noun A mark made against one's record for a fault or for misconduct.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To lower the merit of; discredit; depreciate.
  • To deserve; merit; earn.
  • To deserve to lose from lack of merit or desert.
  • To be deserving; deserve.
  • noun That which one merits; desert.
  • noun That which merits ill; censurable conduct; wrong-doing; ill desert: opposed to merit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To deserve; -- said in reference to both praise and blame.
  • transitive verb rare To depreciate or cry down.
  • noun obsolete That which one merits or deserves, either of good or ill; desert.
  • noun That which deserves blame; ill desert; a fault; a vice; misconduct; -- the opposite of merit.
  • noun The state of one who deserves ill.
  • intransitive verb To deserve praise or blame.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A quality of being inadequate; a fault; a disadvantage
  • noun A mark given for bad conduct to a person attending an educational institution or serving in the army.
  • verb transitive, archaic To deserve.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the quality of being inadequate or falling short of perfection
  • noun a mark against a person for misconduct or failure; usually given in school or armed forces

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English demerite, offense, from Old French desmerite, from Latin dēmeritum, from neuter past participle of dēmerēre, to deserve : dē-, de- + merēre, to earn; see (s)mer- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

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