Definitions

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

  • adv. And nothing else or more; only: merely a flesh wound.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Purely; unmixedly; absolutely.
  • adv. Not otherwise than; simply; barely; only.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Absolutely; wholly; completely; utterly.
  • Simply; solely; only.

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

  • adv. and nothing more

Etymologies

From mere +‎ -ly. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The husband and father fell dead in the street before our eyes, -- and those who picked him up said he was drunk, but it turned out that he was merely starved, -- _merely_!

    Temporal Power

  • Externals, things wholly extraneous of the man, steal upon the hearts and judgments of almost, if not altogether, all mankind; nor do I know more than one instance of a man who fully regards all the world as a stage and all the men and women merely players, and who (the dancing-school bow excepted) only values these players, the _dramatis personæ_ who build cities and who rear hedges, who govern provinces or superintend flocks, _merely as they act their parts_.

    The Letters of Robert Burns

  • My suspicion is that the label merely wanted an album that large numbers of people might like, and they did not think such a desire precluded the band from making an album that was valid.

    Eating the Dinosaur

  • After viewing, I concluded that the title merely indicated "cracks" in the sanity of some of the film's characters -- but a crack is a slang term in the original South African where the novel was set vernacular.

    Melody Breyer-Grell: Cracks is Girls Gone Wild ala The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (in a Good Way)

  • It also suggests that the question may be a confusing one -- perhaps respondents think that the question of who to trust to "handle" Iraq merely translates as, "presuming we're staying, who do you trust to continue the fight best?"

    Poll: Most Trusted On Iraq Are...McCain And Rudy!

  • The Next Right's Patrick Ruffini warns the GOP that if it concludes that President-Elect Barack Obama earned the title merely by pushing the right levers on the Internet, "they will draw the wrong lessons from this year;" Where does Chris Hughes fit into an Obama administration?, tweets NYU's Jay Rosen.

    Daily Digest: Working to Catch the Presidential Ear

  • The First Internet Election: The Next Right's Patrick Ruffini warns the GOP that if it concludes that President-Elect Barack Obama earned the title merely by pushing the right levers on the Internet, "they will draw the wrong lessons from this year."

    Daily Digest: Fired Up, Ready to Govern

  • Out of curiosity, I checked the original Hebrew of Exodus 10:5 to see whether anything in the Hebrew necessitated "cannot be able to" -- however, the Hebrew phrase in question merely translates as "will not be able to":

    On "can be able to"

  • The First Internet Election: The Next Right's Patrick Ruffini warns the GOP that if it concludes that President-elect Barack Obama earned the title merely by pushing the right levers on the Internet, "they will draw the wrong lessons from this year."

    Daily Digest: Fired Up, Ready to Govern

  • Besides, the town had been abuzz with his name merely because he was back in residence nearby.

    Marriage Most Scandalous

Comments

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  • American Heritage Dictionary channels Monte Python in its definition of merely: "And nothing else or more; only: merely a flesh wound." - One recalls the supremely confident Black Knight guarding the footbridge in Holy Grail, who utters, as he is dismembered during swordplay, "'Tis but a scratch"; "I've had worse,", and, "It's just a flesh wound!".

    March 22, 2011