What does merit mean?

Definitions for merit
ˈmɛr ɪtmer·it

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word merit.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. merit, virtuenoun

    any admirable quality or attribute

    "work of great merit"

  2. deservingness, merit, meritoriousnessverb

    the quality of being deserving (e.g., deserving assistance)

    "there were many children whose deservingness he recognized and rewarded"

  3. deserve, meritverb

    be worthy or deserving

    "You deserve a promotion after all the hard work you have done"


  1. meritnoun

    Something worthy of a high rating.

  2. meritnoun

    A claim to commendation or reward.

  3. meritnoun

    The quality of deserving reward.

  4. meritverb

    To earn or to deserve.

  5. meritverb

    To be worthy or deserving.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. MERITnoun

    Etymology: meritum, Latin; merite, French.

    You have the captives; use them
    As we shall find their merits and our safety
    May equally determine. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    She deem’d I well deserv’d to die,
    And made a merit of her cruelty. Dryden.

    Roscommon, not more learn’d than good,
    With manners gen’rous as his noble blood;
    To him the wit of Greece and Rome was known,
    And ev’ry author’s merit but his own. Alexander Pope.

    She valu’d nothing less
    Than titles, figure, shape, and dress;
    That merit should be chiefly plac’d
    In judgment, knowledge, wit, and taste. Jonathan Swift.

    Those laurel groves, the merits of thy youth,
    Which thou from Mahomet didst greatly gain,
    While bold assertor of resistless truth,
    Thy sword did godlike liberty maintain. Matthew Prior.

    As I am studious to promote the honour of my native country, I put Geoffrey Chaucer’s merits to the trial, by turning some of the Canterbury tales into our language. Dryden.

    When a point hath been well examined, and our own judgment settled, after a large survey of the merits of the cause, it would be a weakness to continue fluttering. Isaac Watts.

  2. To Meritverb

    Etymology: meriter, French.

    Amply have merited of me, of all
    Th’ infernal empire. John Milton, Par. Lost, b. x.

    A man at best is uncapable of meriting any thing from God. Robert South, Sermons.

    Whatsoever jewels I have merited, I am sure I have received none, unless experience be a jewel; that I have purchased at an infinite rate. William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor.

    If such rewards to vanquish’d men are due,
    What prize may Nisus from your bounty claim,
    Who merited the first rewards, and fame? Dryden.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Meritnoun

    the quality or state of deserving well or ill; desert

  2. Meritnoun

    esp. in a good sense: The quality or state of deserving well; worth; excellence

  3. Meritnoun

    reward deserved; any mark or token of excellence or approbation; as, his teacher gave him ten merits

  4. Meritnoun

    to earn by service or performance; to have a right to claim as reward; to deserve; sometimes, to deserve in a bad sense; as, to merit punishment

  5. Meritnoun

    to reward

  6. Meritverb

    to acquire desert; to gain value; to receive benefit; to profit

  7. Etymology: [F. mriter, L. meritare, v. intens. fr. merere. See Merit, n.]


  1. Merit

    Merit is a concept in Buddhism/Hinduism. It is that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts, or thoughts and which carries over to throughout the life or the subsequent incarnations. Such merit contributes to a person's growth towards spiritual liberation. Merit can be gained in a number of ways. In addition, according to the Mahayana Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" 1/7 merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one such as in the Shitro practice in order to diminish the deceased's suffering in their new existence. Pariṇāmanā may be rendered as 'transfer of merit' or 'dedication' and involves the transfer of merit as a cause to bring about an effect.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Merit

    mer′it, n. excellence that deserves honour or reward: worth: value: that which one has earned.—v.t. to earn: to have a right to claim as a reward: to deserve: (pl., in law) the right or wrong of a case, apart from questions of procedure.—adj. Meritō′rious, possessing merit or desert: deserving of reward, honour, or praise.—adv. Meritō′riously.—n. Meritō′riousness.—Order for merit, a Prussian order, the military class founded by Frederick the Great in 1740—the civil class, by Frederick William IV. in 1842 for eminence in science and art; Order of merit, place in a class or list in which the best is placed first, the next best second, and so on. [Fr.,—L. meritummerēre, -ĭtum, to obtain as a lot, to deserve.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. merit

    To earn by active service, or by any valuable performance; to have a right to claim as reward; to deserve. Also, the quality or relation of deserving well or ill.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. MERIT

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Merit is ranked #84748 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Merit surname appeared 221 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Merit.

    67.8% or 150 total occurrences were White.
    25.7% or 57 total occurrences were Black.
    2.2% or 5 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'merit' in Nouns Frequency: #1931

Anagrams for merit »

  1. miter

  2. mitre

  3. remit

  4. timer

How to pronounce merit?

How to say merit in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of merit in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of merit in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of merit in a Sentence

  1. New York:

    No one is above the law, including New York's top legal officer, i will be asking an appropriate New York District Attorney to commence an immediate investigation, and proceed as the facts merit.

  2. Joe Biden:

    Any dollar that goes to someone that does not merit it under the law, any dollar taken corruptly, we will find it, we will come get it and we will punish the wrongdoers, that should start tomorrow. But if it doesn't, it will start on January 20, 2021.

  3. George Clooney:

    However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident.

  4. Kirstjen Nielsen:

    I think what the president is saying is that he’d like to move to a more merit-based (system) that is based on the individual, i take a little bit of offense to the comments that the president is racist.

  5. Twitter Inc:

    While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family's terrible loss, violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on San Francisco-based Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for merit

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"merit." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 5 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/merit>.

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    any foodstuff made by combining different ingredients
    • A. concoction
    • B. nitrile
    • C. crate
    • D. ternion

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