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

  • adj. Retired but retaining an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement: a professor emeritus.
  • n. One who is retired but retains an honorary title corresponding to that held immediately before retirement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. retired, but retaining an honorific version of previous title; especially used with professor.
  • n. A person retired in this sense (feminine form emerita).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Honorably discharged from the performance of public duty on account of age, infirmity, or long and faithful services; -- said of an officer of a college or pastor of a church.
  • n. A veteran who has honorably completed his service.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having served out one's time; having done sufficient service; discharged with honor from the performance of public duty on account of infirmity, age, or long service, but retained on the rolls: as, a professor emeritus; a rector emeritus.
  • n. In Roman history, a soldier or public functionary who had served out his time and retired from service. Such servants were entitled to some remuneration answering to modern half pay.
  • n. One who has served out his time or done sufficient service; one who has been honorably discharged from public service or from a public office, as an officer in a university or college, usually with continuance of full or partial emolument.

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

  • n. a professor or minister who is retired from assigned duties
  • adj. honorably retired from assigned duties and retaining your title along with the additional title `emeritus' as in `professor emeritus'


Latin ēmeritus, past participle of ēmerērī, to earn by service : ē-, ex-, from; see ex- + merērī, to deserve, earn; see (s)mer-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin emeritus. (Wiktionary)



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  • From The Guardian newspaper 26 February 2013: Pope Benedict XVI will be known as "emeritus pope" in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican has announced, again fuelling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired pope.

    February 27, 2013