Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Demerit

 Del’uges (3 syl.).Demijohn (A). 
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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Demerit
 
has reversed its original meaning (Latin, demereo, to merit, to deserve). Hence Plautus, Demertas dare laudas (to accord due praise); Ovid, Numna culta demeruisse; Livy, demerri beneficio civitatem. The de- is intensive, as in “de-mand,” “describe,” “de-claim,” etc.; not the privative deorsum, as in the word “de-fame.”
       
“My demerits [deserts]
       
May speak unbonneted.”
   1
       
Shakespeare: Othello, i. 2.
 


 Del’uges (3 syl.).Demijohn (A). 

 
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