Pronunciation: (mer'it), [key]
1. claim to respect and praise; excellence; worth.
2. something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation; a commendable quality, act, etc.: The book's only merit is its sincerity.
3. merits, the inherent rights and wrongs of a matter, as a lawsuit, unobscured by procedural details, technicalities, personal feelings, etc.: The case will be decided on its merits alone.
4. Often, merits. the state or fact of deserving; desert: to treat people according to their merits.
5. Rom. Cath. Ch.worthiness of spiritual reward, acquired by righteous acts made under the influence of grace.
6. Obs.something that is deserved, whether good or bad.
to be worthy of; deserve.
Chiefly Theol.to acquire merit.
based on merit: a merit raise of $25 a week.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.