Definition of merit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɛrɪt/


[mass noun]
1The quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward: composers of outstanding merit
More example sentences
  • It makes no sense in a world that bases reward on merit alone, but our God operates on a different level.
  • A direct result of this tragedy was the Pendleton Act in 1883, which sought to make entry into the service dependent on merit rather than on reward.
  • All of this clearly has the appearance of rewards based on political favoritism, rather than rewards based on merit.
excellence, goodness, standard, quality, level, grade, high quality, calibre, worth, good, credit, eminence, worthiness, value, virtue, distinction, account, deservingness, meritoriousness
1.1 [count noun] A good feature or point: the relative merits of both approaches have to be considered
More example sentences
  • In such a system it is advantageous for colleagues to argue the relative merits of various approaches (just as we are doing now in Parameters).
  • Whatever the year and whatever the relative merits of new films, one can always find cinematic sanctuary somewhere in Cannes.
  • Whatever the relative merits of her argument, she builds it around a stinker of a movie that is so bad nobody wanted to see it in the first place.
good point, strong point, advantage, benefit, value, profit, asset, plus, advisability;
1.2 [count noun] A pass grade in an examination denoting above-average performance: if you expect to pass, why not go for a merit or a distinction? Compare with distinction.
More example sentences
  • University admissions requirements will vary from institution to institution, but are likely to expect either a merit or a distinction grade.
  • I am pretty confident that I have passed all my assignments with high enough marks to proceed to the dissertation, with a few recent assignments scoring merits or distinctions.
  • Technical merit scores dipped as low as 5.2 to reflect the lack of jump content.
1.3 (merits) Law The intrinsic rights and wrongs of a case, outside of any other considerations: a plaintiff who has a good arguable case on the merits
More example sentences
  • Second, the letter does not seek to make submissions on the merits of the proposed judicial review application.
  • That will be a matter for consideration on the merits of any particular State legislation that does so.
  • Strictly speaking I do not think the Court of Appeal disposed of the application for judicial review on the merits, although it seems to me pretty clear what the decision would have been had it done so.
1.4 (merits) Theology Good deeds entitling someone to a future reward from God.

verb (merits, meriting, merited)

[with object]
Deserve or be worthy of (reward, punishment, or attention): the results have been encouraging enough to merit further investigation
More example sentences
  • All this would have merited some serious attention from Peter.
  • Jack thought it was a turning point, but did not think the foul merited the punishment.
  • Whereas virtually every player deserved the award at Reading on Tuesday, nobody merited the accolade last night.
deserve, earn, be deserving of, warrant, rate, justify, be worthy of, be worth, be entitled to, have a right to, have a claim to/on, be qualified for


judge (or consider) something on its merits

Assess something solely with regard to its intrinsic quality rather than other external factors: a proposal should be judged on its merits when it comes forward for approval
More example sentences
  • Now, that's a pretty bold claim to make but none the less I decided to let it pass and judge the piece on its merits rather than immediately begin to make a list of other possible contenders for the title.
  • All arrears will have to paid in full but customs officials will be prepared to discuss settlement over a period of time and judge each case on its merits rather than hitting firms with a huge bill.
  • On the question of the timing of accession, he said that each country would be judged on its merits, but in principle it would be better were Bulgaria and Romania to join the union simultaneously.


Middle English (originally in the sense 'deserved reward or punishment'): via Old French from Latin meritum 'due reward', from mereri 'earn, deserve'.

Words that rhyme with merit

ferret, inherit

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: merit

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