a. A quality or characteristic deserving of blame or censure; a fault.
b. Absence of merit.
2. A mark made against one's record for a fault or for misconduct.
[Middle English demerite, offense, from Old French desmerite, from Latin dēmeritum, from neuter past participle of dēmerēre, to deserve : dē-, de- + merēre, to earn; see (s)mer-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
de·mer′i·tori·ous (-tôrē-əs) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.