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mere1

[meer]
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adjective, superlative mer·est.
  1. being nothing more nor better than: a mere pittance; He is still a mere child.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. pure and unmixed, as wine, a people, or a language.
    2. fully as much as what is specified; completely fulfilled or developed; absolute.
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Origin of mere1

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin merus pure, unmixed, mere
Can be confusedmere mère mirror

Synonym study

1. Mere, bare imply a scant sufficiency. They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Bare suggests scarcely as much as (enough). Thus a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on.

mere2

[meer]
noun
  1. Chiefly British Dialect. a lake or pond.
  2. Obsolete. any body of sea water.
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Origin of mere2

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with German Meer, Old Norse marr, Gothic marei, Old Irish muir, Latin mare

mere3

or mear

[meer]
noun British Dialect.
  1. a boundary or boundary marker.
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Origin of mere3

before 900; Middle English; Old English (ge)mǣre; cognate with Old Norse mǣri; akin to Latin mūrus wall, rim

mère

[mer; English mair]
noun, plural mères [mer; English mairz] /mɛr; English mɛərz/. French.
  1. mother1.
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Can be confusedmere mère mirror

-mere

  1. a combining form meaning “part,” used in the formation of compound words: blastomere.
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Compare -mer, -merous.

Origin of -mere

combining form representing Greek méros
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mere

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Eudora was a mere infant when Phidias bought her of a poor goatherd in Phelle.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • These circumstances have led me to suppose that you worship them as mere forms.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • You can even now return, if you will submit to be a mere sojourner in Athens.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Ladies, ladies—this is degenerating into a mere hammer-fest.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It is a wonder to me they all do not give in, as many are mere skeletons.


British Dictionary definitions for mere

mere1

adjective superlative merest
  1. being nothing more than something specifiedshe is a mere child
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Word Origin

C15: from Latin merus pure, unmixed

mere2

noun
  1. archaic, or dialect a lake or marsh
  2. obsolete the sea or an inlet of it
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Word Origin

Old English mere sea, lake; related to Old Saxon meri sea, Old Norse marr, Old High German mari; compare Latin mare

mere3

noun
  1. archaic a boundary or boundary marker
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Word Origin

Old English gemǣre

mere4

noun
  1. NZ a short flat striking weapon
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Word Origin

Māori

-mere

n combining form
  1. indicating a part or divisionblastomere
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Derived Forms-meric, adj combining form

Word Origin

from Greek meros part, portion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mere

adj.

c.1400, "unmixed, pure," from Old French mier "pure" (of gold), "entire, total, complete," and directly from Latin merus "unmixed" (of wine), "pure; bare, naked;" figuratively "true, real, genuine," probably originally "clear, bright," from PIE *mer- "to gleam, glimmer, sparkle" (cf. Old English amerian "to purify," Old Irish emer "not clear," Sanskrit maricih "ray, beam," Greek marmarein "to gleam, glimmer"). Original sense of "nothing less than, absolute" (mid-15c., now only in vestiges such as mere folly) existed for centuries alongside opposite sense of "nothing more than" (1580s, e.g. a mere dream).

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n.

Old English mere "sea, ocean; lake, pool, pond, cistern," from Proto-Germanic *mari (cf. Old Norse marr, Old Saxon meri "sea," Middle Dutch maer, Dutch meer "lake, sea, pool," Old High German mari, German Meer "sea," Gothic marei "sea," mari-saiws "lake"), from PIE *mori- "sea" (cf. Latin mare, Old Church Slavonic morje, Russian more, Lithuanian mares, Old Irish muir, Welsh mor "sea," Gaulish Are-morici "people living near the sea").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mere in Medicine

-mere

suff.
  1. Part; segment:blastomere, polymer.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

mere in Science

-mere

  1. A suffix meaning “part” or “segment,” as in blastomere, one of the cells that form a blastula.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.