Definition of demurrer in English:



  • 1An objection that an opponent's point is irrelevant or invalid, while granting the factual basis of the point.

    ‘on demurrer it was held that the plaintiff's claim succeeded’
    • ‘I do not know whether this is connected but I gave an opinion on a matter, I think, that went on demurrer to the Court…’
    • ‘The plaintiff issued a special demurrer to that plea, alleging it furnished no legal justification or excuse for the defendant's action.’
    • ‘I know that the rules are now somewhat laxer than they used to be and you get confused, but if it was not clear whether or not judgment had been entered, then it seemed to me this could only be on a demurrer basis.’
    • ‘Grant leave to the defendant to withdraw its demurrer filed 23 June 2004, and the same is now withdrawn;’
    • ‘It would not be an order that would be made as on demurrer, but would be to stay.’
    1. 1.1An objection.
      • ‘Nevertheless, after all qualifications or demurrers have been entered, Hobsbawm's elegy to the political tradition to which he dedicated his life has a dignity and passion that must command anyone's respect.’


Early 16th century: from Anglo-Norman French (infinitive used as a noun), from Old French demourer remain, stay (see demur).