Definition of demur in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈməː/

verb (demurs, demurring, demurred)

[no object]
1Raise objections or show reluctance: normally she would have accepted the challenge, but she demurred
More example sentences
  • ‘I'm not a very good close reader of my own work,’ she demurs when asked to explain the meaning of an incident near the end of The Namesake.
  • Yet Stevenson demurs mildly, and says diplomatically: ‘I think actors often improvise in character in a scripted film, so it's not that unusual.’
  • When asked the age of her son she cheerfully demurs, claiming with some justification that such questions are normally only asked as a way of deducing her own age - dangerous information, which most sopranos prefer to keep to themselves.
raise objections, object, take exception, take issue, protest, lodge a protest, cavil, dissent;
raise doubts, express doubt, express reluctance, express reservations, express misgivings, be unwilling, be reluctant, baulk, hesitate, think twice, hang back, drag one's heels, refuse
informal be cagey, boggle, kick up a fuss, kick up a stink
1.1 Law , dated Put forward a demurrer.
Example sentences
  • The defendant could not have demurred to the plaintiff's declaration, which would have shown a perfectly good cause of action, and, unless the defendant set up something to defeat the claim, the action would have been maintainable.
  • The reference in the final sentence of this passage is to the fact that the claimants had not demurred to the ten heads of particulars pleaded by the newspaper in support of meaning, namely grounds for investigation.
  • It can be dealt with in the ordinary way and if the Judge who hears the matter thinks there is anything in it, well, it will proceed to trial or maybe the Commonwealth will demur or you will demur, as the case may be.


[mass noun, usually with negative]
The action of objecting to or hesitating over something: they accepted this ruling without demur
More example sentences
  • Those of us who demur are labelled ‘self-haters’.
  • Much, and much of the best, criticism in the past decade has been thus motivated; we now know a poet less quaint, less demur, and more politically engaged than previous generations might have imagined.
  • Prudie has long felt that the reflexive, polite demur is not necessary when people are impertinently out of line, either with their advice or their questions.
objection, protest, protestation, complaint, dispute, dissent, carping, cavilling, recalcitrance, opposition, resistance;
reservation, hesitation, reluctance, unwillingness, disinclination, lack of enthusiasm;
doubts, qualms, misgivings, second thoughts;
a murmur, a peep, a word, a sound
informal niggling, griping, grousing, boggling
Law  demurrers
rare demurral


Middle English (in the sense 'linger, delay'): from Old French demourer (verb), demeure (noun), based on Latin de- 'away, completely' + morari 'delay'.

  • Demur ‘raise doubts or objections’, was first recorded as meaning ‘linger, delay’. The source of the verb is Old French demourer, based on Latin de- ‘away, completely’ and morari ‘delay, stay’. Demure (Late Middle English) with which it is often confused, probably comes from the same French word, influenced by Old French mur ‘grave’ (from Latin maturus ‘ripe or mature’ source of mature (Late Middle English)). Early meanings of demure were ‘sober, serious, reserved’. The sense ‘reserved, shy’ dates from the late 17th century.

Words that rhyme with demur

à deux, agent provocateur, astir, auteur, aver, bestir, blur, bon viveur, burr, Chandigarh, coiffeur, concur, confer, connoisseur, cordon-bleu, cri de cœur, cur, danseur, Darfur, defer, de rigueur, deter, entrepreneur, er, err, farceur, faute de mieux, fir, flâneur, Fleur, force majeure, fur, hauteur, her, infer, inter, jongleur, Kerr, littérateur, longueur, masseur, Monseigneur, monsieur, Montesquieu, Montreux, murre, myrrh, occur, pas de deux, Pasteur, per, pisteur, poseur, pot-au-feu, prefer, prie-dieu, pudeur, purr, raconteur, rapporteur, refer, répétiteur, restaurateur, saboteur, sabreur, seigneur, Sher, shirr, sir, skirr, slur, souteneur, spur, stir, tant mieux, transfer, Ur, vieux jeu, voyageur, voyeur, were, whirr

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