Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being nothing more than what is specified: a mere child; a mere 50 cents an hour.
  • adj. Considered apart from anything else: shocked by the mere idea.
  • adj. Small; slight: could detect only the merest whisper.
  • adj. Obsolete Pure; unadulterated.
  • n. A small lake, pond, or marsh: "Sometimes on lonely mountain meres/I find a magic bark” ( Tennyson).
  • n. Archaic A boundary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the sea
  • n. a pool; a small lake or pond; marsh
  • adj. famous.
  • n. a Maori war-club
  • n. boundary, limit; a boundary-marker; boundary-line
  • v. To limit; bound; divide or cause division in.
  • v. To set divisions and bounds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pool or lake.
  • n. A boundary.
  • transitive v. To divide, limit, or bound.
  • n. A mare.
  • adj. Unmixed; pure; entire; absolute; unqualified.
  • adj. Only this, and nothing else; such, and no more; simple; bare

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A pool; a small lake. or pond.
  • n. A boundary; boundary-line.
  • n. A balk or furrow serving as a boundary- or dividing-line in a common field; also, a boundary-stone; a merestone.
  • n. A private carriage-road.
  • n. A measure of 29 or 31 yards in the Peak of Derbyshire in England.
  • To limit; bound; divide or cause division in.
  • To set divisions and bounds.
  • Pure; sheer; unmixed.
  • Absolute; unqualified; utter; whole; in the fullest sense.
  • Sheer; simple; nothing but (the thing mentioned); only: as, it is mere folly to do so; this is the merest trash.
  • Absolutely; wholly.
  • Famous.
  • n. A Middle English form of mare.
  • n. In the reticulum or supporting skeleton of the extinct silicious sponges of the family Dictyospongidæ, one of the divisions or meshes produced by the intersection of the primary vertical and horizontal spicular bundles. It is subdivided by the spicules of. subordinate rank into lesser areas or quadrangles—dimeres, tetrameres, hexameres.
  • n. A Maori war-club; a casse-tête, or war-ax, from 12 to 18 inches in length, made of any suitable hard material, as stone, hard wood, or whalebone. Outside of New Zealand the word is only known as the name of a little trinket of greenstone made in imitation of the New Zealand weapon in miniature, mounted in gold or silver, and used as a brooch, locket, ear-ring, or other article of jewelry.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. being nothing more than specified
  • n. a small pond of standing water
  • adj. apart from anything else; without additions or modifications

Etymologies

Middle English, absolute, pure, from Old French mier, pure, from Latin merus.
Middle English, from Old English; see mori- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Old English mǣre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English mere, from Proto-Germanic *mari, from Proto-Indo-European *móri. Cognate with Dutch meer, German Meer, Norwegian mar (only used in combinations, such as marbakke); and (from Indo-European) with Latin mare, Breton mor, Russian море. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old English mǣre ("famous, great, excellent, sublime, splendid, pure, sterling"), from Proto-Germanic *mērijaz (“excellent, famous”), from Proto-Indo-European *mēros (“large, handsome”). Cognate with Middle High German mære ("famous"), Icelandic mærr ("famous"). (Wiktionary)
Anglo-Norman meer, from Old French mier, from Latin merus. (Wiktionary)
Maori mere ("more"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old English mǣre ("boundary, limit"), from Proto-Germanic *mērijan (“boundary”), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (“to fence”). Cognate with Dutch meer ("a limit, boundary"), Icelandic mærr ("borderland"), Swedish landamäre ("border, borderline, boundary"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The manner in which Sabbatarians emphasize the phrase “My Sabbath,” and “My holy day,” is well calculated to mislead the unsuspecting, but those who are schooled in biblical literature will regard it as mere _rant_, _cheap theology_, _mere display_!

    The Christian Foundation, Or, Scientific and Religious Journal, May, 1880

  • Are we to suppose then that the insanity of the third character, the Fool, is, in this respect, a mere repetition of that of the second, the beggar, -- that it too is _mere_ pretence?

    Shakespearean Tragedy Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth

  • Pompilia shone with a glory that mere knowledge could not give (if there were such a thing as _mere_ knowledge).

    Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher

  • Ma mere qui me pointe le bouquin de tele le doigt sur un programme "tiens regarde ca devrait t'interesser" ... * pinku mate* "la nuit Gay des Lesbiennes" ... * jete un oeil a sa mere* "faut pas pousser non plus ...

    pinku-tk Diary Entry

  • Another subject I recently interviewed blamed what he called mere "centa-millionaires" for the breakdown in exclusivity of his elitist world.

    Jamie Johnson: The One Percent

  • For his part, Nigerien President Mamadou Tanja has rejected all negotiation with what he describes as mere "armed bandits."

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • To the Christian, on the other hand, or to the modern thinker in general, it is difficult, if not impossible, to attach reality to what he terms mere abstraction; while to Plato this very abstraction is the truest and most real of all things.

    The Republic by Plato ; translated by Benjamin Jowett

  • But between cases of what we call mere succession and what is commonly called causal sequence the difference lies merely in the observed fact that in some cases the sequence varies, while in others no exception has ever been discovered.

    Philosophy and Religion Six Lectures Delivered at Cambridge

  • From that time death had held for him a more personal promise; and the obligation to live, to fulfil one's present opportunities, had become charged with another meaning than he had been used to read into what he called his mere animal responsibility.

    The Wheel of Life

  • But Chauvelin was not the man to trouble himself about these social amenities, which he called mere incidents in his diplomatic career.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel

Comments

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  • In the book "To Say Nothing of the Dog," by Connie Willis, there is a cat whose meowing is shown as the line of dialogue "Mere."

    July 8, 2010

  • 'His questions were probably mere pleas for reassurance.'

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 4, 2008