demur


demur
demur vb Demur, scruple, balk, jib, shy, boggle, stick, stickle, strain are comparable when they mean to hesitate or show reluctance because of difficulties in the way.
One demurs to or at something when one raises objections to it, casts doubt upon it, or takes exception to it, thereby interposing obstacles which delay action, procedure, or decision
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our colleagues in the university who demur on academic grounds to the inclusion of theology— Moberly

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In older use the stress was on delay Notwithstanding he hoped that matters would have been long since brought to an issue, the fair one still demursSpectator

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In modern use the emphasis is commonly on objection
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Jerry . . . proposed that ... we stretch a point by going to supper at Reeves's. Sarah and I demurred as women will at such a proposal from a man whose family exigencies are known to them— Mary Austin

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it would seem hazardous to demur to a proposition which is so widely accepted— Alexander

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One scruples to do or at doing something when he is reluctant because his conscience bothers or because he is doubtful of the propriety, expediency, or morality of the action; the word is increasingly common in a negative construction
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scruple to accept any gift that might seem a bribe

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he does not scruple to ask the most abominable things of you— Meredith

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Greece and in particular Athens was overrun by philos-ophers, who . .. did not scruple to question the foundations of social and moral obligation— Dickinson

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One balks (often at something) when he stops short and obstinately refuses to go further in his course because he has reached the limit of strength, courage, credulity, or tolerance
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the horse balked at the leap

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he never balks at any task no matter how difficult it is

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there is the opposite case of the man who yields his poetic faith too readily, who does not balk at any improbability— Babbitt

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one rather balks at the idea of Synthetic roughage—excelsior, wood chips, or whatever may be at hand— Furnas

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One jibs (often at something) when he balks like a horse and backs away or out
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I had settled to finish the review, when, behold ... I jibbedScott

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he jibbed at alliance with the Catholic League— Belloc

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his soldiers, many of whom had served with Antony, jibbed at the attack on their old leader— Buchan

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One shies at, away from, or off from something when like a suddenly frightened horse he recoils or swerves aside in alarm or distaste or suspicion and is unable to proceed or act
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shy at the sight of blood

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these turns of speech . . . have the old virtue in them; you see the old temperament of the race still evincing itself; still shying away from the long abstract word— Montague

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One boggles at, over, or about something from which he by temperament, instinct, or training shies away. In addition, boggle often implies scrupling or fussing
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when a native begins peijury he perjures himself thoroughly. He does not boggle over details— Kipling

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we [lovers of poetry] do not balk at the sea-wave washing the rim of the sun, which we know it does not do, any more than we boggle at blackberries that are red when they are green— Lowes

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it was in the essence a snobbish pleasure; why should I boggle at the word?— L. P. Smith

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One sticks at something to which he demurs because of scruples, especially scruples of conscience; the term is used frequently in the idiom "stick at nothing," which is another way of saying be absolutely unscrupulous
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was in a hole and would stick at little to get out of it— Buchan

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One stickles at, about, or over something to which he demurs or raises objections because it is offensive, distasteful, or contrary to his principles
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the purist stickles at using clipped words such as gas for gasoline, phone for telephone, exam for examination

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there is no time in a serious emergency to stickle over means if they achieve the desired ends

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presumably that is his method—so the reader, eager to get good things where he can, will not stickle at it— K. D. Burke

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One strains at something when he demurs to it as beyond his power to believe, accept, understand, or do. This usage is chiefly dependent on the scriptural passage "ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." The object of at is commonly something which might without real difficulty be believed, accepted, understood, or done
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persons who strain at the truth yet accept every wild rumor without question

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I do not strain at the position,—it is familiar,—but at the author's driftShak.

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Analogous words: *hesitate, falter, vacillate, waver: oppose, *resist, combat, fight: *object, remonstrate: *disapprove, deprecate
Antonyms: accede
Contrasted words: accept, admit, *receive, take: acquiesce, agree, *assent, consent, subscribe
demur n *qualm, compunction, scruple
Analogous words: *hesitation, hesitancy: reluctance, loathness, aversion, disinclination (see corresponding adjectives at DISINCLINED): objection, remonstrance (see corresponding verbs at OBJECT)
Contrasted words: readiness, promptness, quickness (see corresponding adjectives at QUICK)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • demur — de·mur /di mər/ vi de·murred, de·mur·ring: to interpose a demurrer demur to the declaration de·mur·ra·ble adj Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • demur — meaning ‘to raise scruples or objections’ has inflected forms demurred, demurring. It is normally used in negative contexts and without a complement (When asked they did not demur), although it is occasionally followed by at or to (did not demur… …   Modern English usage

  • Demur — De*mur , v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Demurred}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Demurring}.] [OF. demurer, demorer, demourer, to linger, stay, F. demeurer, fr. L. demorari; de + morari to delay, tarry, stay, mora delay; prob. originally, time for thinking, reflection …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Demur — De*mur , v. t. 1. To suspend judgment concerning; to doubt of or hesitate about. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] The latter I demur, for in their looks Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. To cause delay to; to put off …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Demur — De*mur , n. [OF. demor, demore, stay, delay. See {Demur}, v. i.] Stop; pause; hesitation as to proceeding; suspense of decision or action; scruple. [1913 Webster] All my demurs but double his attacks; At last he whispers, Do; and we go snacks.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • demur — ► 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 …   English terms dictionary

  • demur — (v.) c.1200, to linger, tarry, delay, from O.Fr. demorer delay, retard, from L. demorari to linger, loiter, tarry, from de (see DE (Cf. de )) + morari to delay, from mora a pause, delay, from PIE *mere . Main modern sense of raise objections is f …   Etymology dictionary

  • demur — [v] disagree balk, cavil, challenge, combat, complain, deprecate, disapprove, dispute, doubt, fight, hem and haw*, hesitate, object, oppose, pause, protest, pussyfoot*, refuse, remonstrate, resist, scruple, shy, stick, stickle, strain, take… …   New thesaurus

  • demur — [dē mʉr′, dimʉr′] vi. demurred, demurring [ME demuren < OFr demorer < L demorari, to delay < de , from + morari, to delay < mora, a delay < IE base * (s)mer , to remember > MEMORY] 1. to hesitate because of one s doubts or… …   English World dictionary

  • demur — v. (formal) (D; intr.) ( to object ) to demur at, to (to demur at a proposal) * * * [ dɪ mɜː] to (to demur at a proposal) (formal) (D; intr.) ( to object ) to demur at …   Combinatory dictionary


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