- qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, etc., because of one’s actions, qualities, or situation: the deserving poor; a deserving applicant.
- meriting; worthy: a criminal deserving of a lifetime sentence.
- (often postpositive and foll by of) worthy, esp of praise or reward
- rare a merit or demerit; desert
adj.1540s, from un- (1) “not” + present participle of deserve.