Definition of deme in English:



  • 1A political division of Attica in ancient Greece.

    ‘The Peloponnesian army under King Archidamus reached the borders of Attica and encamped at the deme of Acharnae.’
    • ‘Life Xenophon, son of Gryllus, from the Athenian deme (rural district) of Erchia, was born into a wealthy but politically inactive family around 430 BC.’
    • ‘Two portraits of Socrates frame the Symposium, one painted by Aristodemus, the good thief, the best of the deme, the other by Alcibiades, the bad thief.’
    • ‘So in the summer of 431, a Spartan army invaded Attica, laying waste to Acharnai, a rural deme to the north-west of Athens, within sight of the city walls.’
    1. 1.1An administrative division in modern Greece.
  • 2Biology
    A subdivision of a population consisting of closely related plants, animals, or people, typically breeding mainly within the group.

    ‘We have studied different aspects of DNA sequence polymorphism within a single deme drawn from a population that has experienced a range expansion.’
    • ‘Several of these still capture the essence of island-model subdivision, that is, greater relatedness within than between demes, while others collapse to the unstructured case.’
    • ‘The effect of genetic hitchhiking on neutral variation is analyzed in subdivided populations with differentiated demes.’
    • ‘Historically, migration can take ancestors to any deme within the population.’
    • ‘However, much of the theoretical work since has focused on populations subdivided into discrete demes.’
    • ‘In particular, if a sample is taken from such a population, levels of polymorphism within and between demes will be the same.’



/dēm/ /dim/


From Greek dēmos ‘people’; deme (sense 2) is an extended use dating from the 1930s.