Italian has a word called "merito", which describes the state which a person may attain in reaching a state of deserving something. Unfortunately, bilingual dictionaries tend to do a poor job of translating this word into English. I was wondering if it is possible, in English, to use a word such as "deservance". I would say yes.

So, in general, can I use any verb, such as "deserve", and attach the suffix "ance", to create a word describing the quality of possessing the state attained by means of using such verb?

For instance, I may construct a sentence such as, "Rewards will be granted according to each person's respective deservance of such rewards."



4 Answers 4


If you want to use the word deserve, you can use the gerund form, deserving, or simply "merit" as @Gutsavon mentioned in a comment.

  • Sure, perhaps the combination "deserving person". Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 13:55
  • Or, you can use it as a noun "each person's deserving" Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 14:04

I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for, but based on your example "worthiness" seems like a good fit.

Ie. "Rewards will be granted according to each person's respective worthiness of such rewards."

  • Worthiness seems to refer to an abstact value, the word I am seeking implies a value tied to deserving to receive something such as money or some other service or good attitude towards the deserving person. Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 13:54
  • @JackMaddington it can certainly be abstract and vague, If used like how you have in your example though it must mean only what's intended because the rest of the sentence imposes strict limits on interpretation.
    – Niall
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 14:01


As in the phrase, "To get one's just deserts," this is a noun that meets your need. Dictionary entries tend to describe it as "what one deserves" or "what is deserved", but the term is also understood in fields like property theory and jurisprudence, in the sense of "the state of deserving", and I don't think it's a stretch to use it in that sense in your example.

"Rewards will be granted according to desert."

  • Strange to see this not just not being the top answer, but even downvoted into negative territory. This is precisely the right answer.
    – Outis Nemo
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 15:09

The word you are looking for is called "entitlement". I am starting to hear this word used more and more as it seems to be the flagship word of the Millennials.

  • 1
    This is unsuitable for the purpose, as "entitlement" is increasingly used to refer to the attitude, not the factual basis. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 18:32
  • actually, this was just what I was looking for
    – John D
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 2:06

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