demur » demure
Spotted in the wild:
- I demure from saying, “Your blood pressure would be high if a couple of days ago you thought you were having a stroke, and now you feel pain that possibly rivals childbirth, and you’ve called the doctor three times and each time you’ve been lied to, and now, miracle of miracles, the Holy Shaman deigns to see you.” (Salon.com, Oct. 7, 1999)
- “I can’t say that!” he bleats. “Just attribute it to your business partner,” says Jim in his usual reassuring manner. But Kevin continues to demure. (Business Week, Feb. 9, 2001)
- The Membership directs the Clerk to cast one vote for Nicholas Shectman to elect him by acclimation to the office of Treasurer. The clerk tries to demure, saying that he intended to register his vote for Treasurer as an abstention, but performs as directed, making Nicholas Shectman the Treasurer of ARISIA, Incorporated by acclimation. (Mentor of Arisia, Sep. 2001)
- We were greeted by Mrs Morton (Kelly from the DSG and I were both new to the class and we had to introduce ourselves) and she asked whether we had done our homework and some were honest enough to demure so we were given a 17 minute test to be completed in 15 minutes, on the importance of the Nile to the Egyptians. (St. Andrew's College (NZ) newsletter, Feb. 17, 2003)
- I hadn’t been expecting a meal and attempted to demure, saying that we weren’t expecting to be fed. (Authentic Artifact Collectors Association newsletter, Summer 2004)
These two words may be etymologically related, or at least may have influenced each other historically. Demur derives from Latin _de- + morari_ ‘to delay’ via Anglo-Norman _demurer_, while demure probably derives from the past participle of the Anglo-Norman verb, reanalyzed as an extended form of Old French _mur_, _meur_ ‘mature, serious’. _Demure_ continues to connote the coy quality of one who _demurs_.