verb (used with object)

  1. to ask for with proper authority; claim as a right: He demanded payment of the debt.
  2. to ask for peremptorily or urgently: He demanded sanctuary. She demanded that we let her in.
  3. to call for or require as just, proper, or necessary: This task demands patience. Justice demands objectivity.
  4. Law.
    1. to lay formal legal claim to.
    2. to summon, as to court.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a demand; inquire; ask.


  1. the act of demanding.
  2. something that is demanded.
  3. an urgent or pressing requirement: demands upon one’s time.
  4. Economics.
    1. the desire to purchase, coupled with the power to do so.
    2. the quantity of goods that buyers will take at a particular price.
  5. a requisition; a legal claim: The demands of the client could not be met.
  6. the state of being wanted or sought for purchase or use: an article in great demand.
  7. Archaic. inquiry; question.


  1. on demand, upon presentation or request for payment: The fee is payable on demand.

verb (tr; may take a clause as object or an infinitive)

  1. to request peremptorily or urgently
  2. to require or need as just, urgent, etcthe situation demands attention
  3. to claim as a right; exacthis parents demanded obedience of him
  4. law to make a formal legal claim to (property, esp realty)


  1. an urgent or peremptory requirement or request
  2. something that requires special effort or sacrificea demand on one’s time
  3. the act of demanding something or the thing demandedthe kidnappers’ demand was a million pounds
  4. an insistent question or query
  5. economics
    1. willingness and ability to purchase goods and services
    2. the amount of a commodity that consumers are willing and able to purchase at a specified priceCompare supply 1 (def. 9)
  6. law a formal legal claim, esp to real property
  7. in demand sought after; popular
  8. on demand as soon as requesteda draft payable on demand

n.late 13c., “a question,” from Old French demande (see demand (v.)). Meaning “a request, claim” is from c.1300. In the political economy sense (correlating to supply) it is attested from 1776 in Adam Smith. v.late 14c., “ask, make inquiry,” from Old French demander (12c.) “to request; to demand,” from Latin demandare “entrust, charge with a commission” (in Vulgar Latin, “to ask, request, demand”), from de- “completely” (see de-) + mandare “to order” (see mandate). Meaning “to ask for as a right” is early 15c., from Anglo-French legal use. Related: Demanded; demanding. The amount of any given commodity that people are ready and able to buy at a given time for a given price. (See supply and demand.) see in demand; make demands on; on demand.

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