The Meaning of Demeanor: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of demeanor? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word demeanor, including its definition, etymology and word origin, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word demeanor mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, and the American Heritage Unabridged  Dictionary of the English Language, the word demeanor means a person’s behavior, social deportment, or attitude and way of behaving. This might be shown through facial expressions or other non-verbal behaviours. The word demeanor is three syllables – de-mean-or, and the pronunciation of demeanor is dɪminər.

If someone has a positive demeanor, they might be bright and friendly. This person could be outgoing and joyful, and also be easy to talk to. Someone who has a positive demeanor makes a great friend and is easy to be around. People like people who have a positive demeanor. They are always able to bring light to whatever room or situation they are in. If someone has a negative demeanor, that means that they often come off as upset, angry or sad. A negative demeanor is definitely a bad thing for many people. A negative demeanor can make people feel very down. Someone might show a negative demeanor through body language or by constant complaining. Sometimes everyone has a positive or negative demeanor, but it is important to know which one you come off as more often to make sure you do not appear to be a person who is a downer. 

Many different languages around the world contain words that mean demeanor. You may notice that many of these translations from Word Sense look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. How many of these translations of demeanor do you know?

  •  Korean: 처신‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: giùlan‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Benehmen‎ (neut.)
  •  Hungarian: viselkedés‎
  •  Bulgarian: държание‎ (neut.), поведение‎ (neut.)
  •  Catalan: comportament‎ (masc.), conducta‎ (fem.)
  •  Swedish: beteende‎ (neut.), uppförande‎ (neut.), uppträdande‎ (neut.)
  •  French: comportement‎ (masc.), conduite‎ (fem.)
  •  Occitan: comportament‎
  •  Spanish: comportamiento‎ (masc.), conducta‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: comportamento‎ (masc.), conduta‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: chování‎
  •  Danish: opførsel‎ (common), optræden‎ (common)
  •  Armenian: վարվելաձև‎
  •  Russian: поведе́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Italian: comportamento‎, atteggiamento‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: gedragswijze‎
  •  Norwegian: oppførsel‎, opptreden‎
  •  Slovak: vystupovanie‎, správanie‎, spôsoby‎
  •  Finnish: käytös‎, käyttäytyminen‎

What is the origin of the word demeanor?

According to Etymonline, the word demeanor has been used since late 15c in the Middle English demenure, which comes from the  obsolete Middle English demenen, Middle English demean, and demeinen. These come from the 11c Old French demener meaning to guide or conduct, from the prefix de and Anglo-French verb mener meaning to lead or direct. This comes from the Latin minari meaning to threaten, which was used in Late Latin to mean to drive a herd of animals. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of demeanor?

There are a number of different words that a person can choose to use in place of the word demeanor. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning or definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to easily expand your English language vocabulary and help you avoid repeating yourself when writing or speaking. The below list of synonyms for the word demeanor is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  air
  •  form
  •  opinion
  •  mental outlook
  •  stand
  •  manners
  •  habits
  •  bearings
  •  poise
  •  on going
  •  face
  •  behaviour
  •  mien
  •  temper
  •  routine
  •  bias
  •  countenance
  •  philosophy
  •  looks
  •  stance
  •  comportment
  •  mindtrip
  •  turn
  •  show
  •  act
  •  presence
  •  atmosphere
  •  attitude
  •  sensibility
  •  abaser
  •  visible feature
  •  prejudice
  •  angle
  •  practice
  •  manner
  •  breeding
  •  sentiment
  •  style
  •  carriage
  •  headset
  •  impression
  •  bent
  •  debaser
  •  geste
  •  pose
  •  slant
  •  performance
  •  inclination
  •  set
  •  way of life
  •  facade
  •  convenance
  •  belief
  •  color
  •  bearing
  •  effect
  •  behavior
  •  mindset
  •  conduct
  •  potato
  •  way
  •  standing
  •  appearance
  •  address
  •  reaction
  •  actions
  •  gills
  •  etiquette
  •  leaning
  •  guise
  •  goings on
  •  mood
  •  approach
  •  deportment
  •  behaviors
  •  correctitude
  •  front
  •  port
  •  feeling
  •  doings
  •  cast
  •  expression
  •  exterior
  •  temperament
  •  positure
  •  disposition
  •  notion
  •  posture
  •  fronts
  •  look
  •  demeanour
  •  affectation
  •  predilection
  •  ways
  •  proclivity
  •  aspect
  •  position
  •  phizog
  •  action
  •  standpoint

How can the word demeanor be used in a sentence?

The word demeanor can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself to see how good your vocabulary is. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are a couple of different examples of demeanor to get you started. 

The article’s wording made the actress’s demeanor seem mean and rude, but she was really trying to be dryly sarcastic and funny. Her publicist, Shawn, had to call the publication and have them reprint the article with an apology. 

The younger brother didn’t understand why his older sister had a demeanor so different around her friends who were teenagers versus him. He assumed Heidi was herself when she was around family, so he didn’t understand why she would change herself for her friends. 

While his demeanor did make him come off as a know it all and as a bit of a prick, he also came off as a genius. Every conversation felt like he was bragging about how much he knew – which was clearly a lot – but no one else was ever able to get a word in edgewise, and when they did, he told them they were wrong. It was exhausting for his friends to be around.

The martyr’s demeanor was temperate and calm. She wanted to bring joy to the world, and succeeded in that.

Overall, the word demeanor means a person’s outward behavior. This word is Latin in origin.


  1. demeanor: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. demeanor | Origin and meaning of demeanor | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. Demeanor synonyms – 497 Words and Phrases for Demeanor | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Demeanor definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary