Definitions

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

  • adjective Modest and reserved in manner or behavior.
  • adjective Characterized by or suggestive of reserve or modesty.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To look with reserve or bashfulness.
  • Sober; grave; modest; formally decorous: as, a demure look.
  • Affectedly modest; making a demonstration of gravity or decorum.

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

  • intransitive verb obsolete To look demurely.
  • adjective Of sober or serious mien; composed and decorous in bearing; of modest look; staid; grave.
  • adjective Affectedly modest, decorous, or serious; making a show of gravity.

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

  • adjective Quiet, modest, reserved, sober, or serious.
  • verb obsolete To look demurely.

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

  • adjective affectedly modest or shy especially in a playful or provocative way

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, probably from Anglo-Norman (influenced by Old French mur, meur, mature, serious), past participle of demurer, to delay, wait; see demur.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French meur (Modern French mûr) from Latin maturus. The "de-" is unexplained.

Examples

  • Above his head, Jasmine curls her body into a Scorpion, her expression demure, bordering on bashful.

    Cheer!

  • Above his head, Jasmine curls her body into a Scorpion, her expression demure, bordering on bashful.

    Cheer!

  • All that tenderest care and kindest heart could suggest was done to make me comfortable by my kind hosts; and the cavalcade of retainers, with which I had come out so gayly, followed in demure silence.

    Hawaii's Story, by Hawaii's Queen

  • McCain makes the Bush daughters look demure, which is a shame: we had so much hope for them taking over their father's mantle, but McCain looks like she will be fun too.

    Paul Jenkins: Republican Circus: Extended Engagement

  • She actually envied the simplicity of Lucy Morris, for whom she delighted to find evil names, calling her demure, a prig, a sly puss, and so on.

    The Eustace Diamonds

  • She actually envied the simplicity of Lucy Morris, for whom she delighted to find evil names, calling her demure, a prig, a sly puss, and so on.

    The Eustace Diamonds

  • Morris, for whom she delighted to find evil names, calling her demure, a prig, a sly puss, and so on.

    The Eustace Diamonds

  • Both very, very -- kind of demure and kind of quiet.

    CNN Transcript Feb 14, 2005

  • It peeps out, even in the most serious passages, in a kind of demure rebellion against the fanaticism of his remorseless intelligence.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 31, May, 1860

  • In repose, it had a look of having just finished saying something humorous, a kind of demure appreciation of itself.

    Piccadilly Jim

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