- a mark against a person for misconduct or deficiency: If you receive four demerits during a term, you will be expelled from school.
- the quality of being censurable or punishable; fault; culpability.
- Obsolete. merit or desert.
- something, esp conduct, that deserves censure
- US and Canadian a mark given against a person for failure or misconduct, esp in schools or the armed forces
- a fault or disadvantage
late 14c., from Old French desmerite “blame, demerit” (Modern French démérite), from des- “not, opposite” (see dis-) + merite “merit” (see merit (n.)). Latin demereri meant “to merit, deserve,” from de- in its completive sense. But Medieval Latin demeritum meant “fault.” Both senses existed in the Middle French form of the word. Meaning “penalty point in school” is attested from 1862.