1. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    Demure as an adjective seems to mean modest and shy, so that could we translate 'a demure woman' by 'une femme discrète'?
    And I would also like to know whether there is a verb 'to demure'? Because this is the only definition WF gives, although I could find it nowhere else? Isn't the verb 'to demur' which means 'to raise objections'?
    Thanks for lighting my lantern, a holiday brain is never as good as a working one :D
  2. Geordie_Wilber

    Geordie_Wilber Senior Member

    La Vallée de la Selle (80)
    Geordieland, Geordie (English of sorts!)
    Very closely linked but different. From the Compact Oxford English:


    verb (demurred, demurring) raise doubts or objections; show reluctance.
    noun the action of demurring: they accepted without demur.
    — DERIVATIVES demurral noun.
    — ORIGIN Old French demourer, from Latin morari ‘delay’.


    adjective (demurer, demurest) (of a woman) reserved, modest, and shy.
    — DERIVATIVES demurely adverb demureness noun.
    — ORIGIN perhaps from Old French demourer ‘remain, stay’, influenced by mur ‘grave’.
  3. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    'Demure' is, as you say, an adjective. No, there is no verb 'to demure' and yes, 'to demur' means 'to raise objections'.
  4. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    Thanks, Suehill and Geordie for confirming. Let's put it right in WF now then!:)
  5. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    "demure" a souvent le sens de "modestie affectée"

    Harrap's indique pour "demurely":
    d'un air de Sainte-Nitouche

    J'aime bien aussi cette expression:
    une femme restant sur son quant-à-soi
  6. hunternet

    hunternet Senior Member

    France - French
    :thumbsup: je vote pour la Sainte-Nitouche.
  7. Moon Palace

    Moon Palace Senior Member

    I agree with this contemporary translation of 'demure', but in Jane Austen's XIXth century, wouldn't you rather keep 'discrète'? She didn't mean the woman played a part. It was merely expected from women.
    The word has obviously evolved since then, as has society's expectations of women. Fortunately enough btw. :p

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